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Contributions to 
Circumpolar Anthropology 5 
National Museum of Natural History 
Smithsonian Institution 

Arctic , 


Leonid P. Khiobystin 


The Archaeology of Northernmost Eurasia 

Leonid P. Khiobystin (1931-1988) on Svalbard/Spitzbergen, 1981. Photographer Oleg 


yhe /\rchaeo!ogL) of Northernmost fl_ 

u ra 5 1 a 





Published by the 

Arctic Studies Center 

National IVluseum of Natural History 

Smithsonian Institution 

Washington, D.C. 

Originally published in Russian as Drevniaia istohia Taimyrskogo Zapoliar'ia i voprosy formirovamiia kul'tur 
severa Evrazii [Ancient History of Taymyr and the Formation of North Eurasian Cultures]. 
© 1 998 Nauka Publishing House, St. Petersburg 

© 2005 Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 
All rights reserved 

Printed in the United States of America 
ISBN 10: 0-9673429-6-1 
ISBN 13; 978-0-9673429-6-2 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 
Khiobystin, L. P. (Leonid Pavlovich) 

[Drevniaia istoriia Taimyrskogo Zapoliar'ia i voprosy formirovaniia kul'tur severa Evrazii. English] 

Taymyr : the archaeology of northernmost Eurasia / Leonid P. Khiobystin ; edited by William W. Fitzhugh and 
Vladimir V. Pitul'ko ; translated from the Russian by Leonid Vishnyatski and Boris Crudinko. 

p. cm. (Contributions to circumpolar anthropology ; 5) 

Includes bibliographical references. 

ISBN 0-9673429-6-1 

1. Bronze age Russia (Federation)— Taymyr Peninsula. 2. Iron age— Russia (Federation)— Taymyr Peninsula. 
3. Taymyr Peninsula (Russia)— Antiquities. 4. Excavations (Archaeology)— Russia (Federation)— Taymyr Peninsula. 
5. Arctic peoples— Russia (Federation)— Taymyr Peninsula. I. Fitzhugh, William W., 1943- II. Pitul'ko, V. V. 
(Vladimir Vladimirovich) III. Title. IV. Series. 

GN778.22.R9K481 3 2005 

947'. 01 dc22 2004009515 

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Stan- 
dard for Information Sciences— Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, Z39.48-I 992. 

Technical editor: Erica Hill 

Cover and series design: Anya Vinokour 

Production editor: Sue Mitchell 

This publication is Volume 5 in the Arctic Studies Center series, Contributions to Circumpolar Anthropology, produced by 
the Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. 


Front cover; Bronze arrowheads from the site of Staroye Barkhatovo I (Khiobystin 1998:31 2). 

Back cover; Leonid Pavlovich Khiobystin on a barge going down the Pechora River, 1 987. 
Photographer Vladimir Pitulko. 




Igor Krupnik and William W. Fitzhugh 


Vladimir V. Pituiko 


Galina N. Gracheva, Vladimir V. Pituiko, 
Vladimir lu. Shumkin, and Vladimir I. Timofeev 



(^^hapter 1 11 



Palaeolithic Occupation of Polar Regions 

The Arctic Climate during the Early and Middle Holocene 

On the Concepts of "Mesolithic" and "Neolithic" 

The Mesolithic of the European and West Siberian Arctic 

The Mesolithic and Early Neolithic in East Siberia and Taymyr 

Mesolithic Sites of Taymyr and the Siberian Forest Zone 

apter 2 


The Early Neolithic 

The Neolithic of the Third and Second Millennia B.C. 

G-hapter ^ 81 


Climatic Changes in the Late Holocene 

The Ymiyakhtakh Culture of Taymyr 

Distribution and Development of Check-Stamped Pottery 

(2^1t apter 4- 


The Ust-Polovinka Site and the Pyasina Culture 
The Malokorenninsk Culture 
The Influence of East Siberian Traditions 
The Vozhpay Culture 

MAR P 9 2CG6 

(chapter ^ 

(211napter 6 


Settlement Patterns and Social Organization 
Bronze Casting on the Taymyr Peninsula 
The Origins of Reindeer Herding in Western Siberia and Taymyr 





231 INDEX 



Leonid Pavlovitch Khiobystin (1931-1988) in Svalbard, 1981 ii 

1/ Leonid Pavlovicli Khiobystin on a barge going down the Pechora River, 1987 xii 

2/ Vladimir Pituiko excavating at the Bytyk site, Taymyr Peninsula, 1 997 xvi 

3/ Khiobystin's field crew at the Beiyi Nos polar station, 1 987 xx 

4/ Northern side of Lama Lake, southern Taymyr, 1 997 xxviii 

5/ Map of the Taymyr Peninsula with areas surveyed by the Polar Expedition 6 

6/ Archaeological field camp, Central Taymyr, Byrranga Mountains 1 

7/ A chopper-like tool from Ust-Polovinka 1 3 

8/ Map of the excavations at Tagenar VI 25 

9/ Spatial distribution of materials at Tagenar VI 25 

1 0/ Lithic artifacts from Tagenar VI 26 

1 1/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina I 28 

1 2/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina I 29 

1 3/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina I 30 

1 4/ Lithic artifacts from various sites 3 1 

1 5/ Lithic artifacts from various sites 33 

1 6/ Lithic artifacts from Kapkannaya II 34 

1 7/ Lithic artifacts from Novaya I and related sites 36 

1 8/ Lithic artifacts from Labaz VI and related sites 37 

1 9/ Lithic artifacts from various sites 37 

20/ Lithic artifacts from Labaz VI and other sites 38 

21/ Lithic artifacts from various sites 38 

22/ Kapchug Lake in the midst of the Putorana Mountains, southern Taymyr, 1 997 44 

23/ Overview of excavations at Abylaakh I 46 

24/ Map of excavations at Abylaakh I 46 

25/ Stratigraphic profiles of Abylaakh I 46 

26/ Lithic artifacts from the lower cultural layer of Abylaakh I 48 

27/ Lithic artifacts from Glubokoe I 50 

28/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina VIII 51 

29/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina II 56 

30/ Lithic artifacts from various sites in the Kheta and Khatagna River valleys 57 

31 / Map of sites near the Maimeche River 58 

32/ Map of excavations at Maimeche I 58 


33/ Photo of excavations at Maimeche I 59 

34/ Ceramics from Maimeche I 60 

35/ Ceramics from Maimeche I 60 

36/ Ceramics from Maimeche I 61 

37/ Lithic artifacts from Maimeche I 61 

38/ Soapstone ornaments and ornament preforms from Maimeche IV 63 

39/ Reconstruction of lateral labret use 63 

40/ Map of excavations at Maimeche IV 63 

41/ Stratigraphic profile of Maimeche IV 64 

42/ Ceramics from Maimeche IV 65 

43/ Adzes and adze preforms from Maimeche IV 66 

44/ Lithic artifacts from Maimeche IV 66 

45/ Lithic artifacts from Maimeche IV 67 

46/ Reconstruction of medial labret use 68 

47/ Lithic from Dyupkun Lake and iron knife from Lake Glubokoye 73 

48/ Ceramics from Istok Pyasina and Ust-Polovinka 73 

49/ Taymyr boreal forest landscape on the upper Avam River, 1 996 ■ 80 

50/ Pollen diagram of samples from Ust-Polovinka 83 

5 1 / Photo of excavations at Abylaakh I 86 

52/ Ymiyakhtakh-type (waffle) and net ceramics from Abylaakh I 86 

53/ Ymiyakhtakh-type ceramics from Abylaakh I 86 

54/ Ymiyakhtakh-type ceramics from Abylaakh I 88 

5 5/ Slag-coated ceramics from Abylaakh I 88 

56/ Fragments of a crucible and small bowl from Abylaakh I 89 

57/ Sandstone molds from Abylaakh I 89 

58/ Materials associated with bronze casting at Abylaakh I 89 

59/ Wooden mold from Yamal-Nenets Regional Museum, Salekhard 90 

60/ Sandstone abraders from Abylaakh I 91 

61/ Artifacts and rim profiles from Abylaakh I 91 

62/ Retouched points from Abylaakh I 92 

63/ Retouched insets and knives from Abylaakh I 93 

64/ Cores from Abylaakh I 93 

65/ Scrapers from Abylaakh I 94 

66/ Scrapers from Abylaakh I 94 

67/ Scrapers from Abylaakh I 95 

68/ Scrapers from Abylaakh I 95 

69/ Ceramics from Kholodnaya III 97 

70/ Artifacts from various Kholodnaya sites 97 

71/ Lithic artifacts from various sites 99 

72/ Lithic artifacts from Ivanovskaya 1 00 

73/ Ceramics from Pyasina V 100 


74/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina V 1 00 

75/ Lithic and other artifacts from Pyasina III and Ivanovskaia 1 01 

76/ Lithic artifacts from the Volochanka River valley sites 1 01 

77/ Lithic artifacts from Malaya Korennaya I and Ust-Talovaya 1 02 

78/ Ceramics from Pyasina IV-A 1 05 

79/ Crucible from Pyasina IV-A 105 

80/ An abandoned Nganasan camp 110 

81/ Map of the Ust-Polovinka site 112 

82/ Map of Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka 1 1 3 

83/ Stratigraphic profile of Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka 1 1 3 

84/ Artifacts from Ust-Polovinka 1 1 5 

85/ Crucibles from Ust-Polovinka 1 1 5 

86/ Crucibles from Ust-Polovinka and Pyasina IV-A 1 1 5 

87/ Lithic artifacts from Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka 1 1 6 

88/ Grinding stones from Ust-Polovinka and Malaya Korennaya I 116 

89/ Partial ceramic vessel from Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka 1 1 6 

90/ Ceramics from Ust-Polovinka 1 1 7 

91 / Ceramics from Ust-Polovinka 117 

92/ Artifacts from Ust-Polovinka 1 1 7 

93/ Pyasina-type ceramics from Ust-Polovinka 1 1 8 

94/ Pyasina-type ceramics from Ust-Polovinka 1 1 8 

95/ Map of Excavation Area II, Ust-Polovinka 1 1 8 

96/ Stratigraphic profile of Excavation Area II, Ust-Polovinka 1 1 8 

97/ Vessel fragment from Excavation Area II, Ust-Polovinka 1 1 9 

98/ Lithic artifacts from Excavation Area II, Ust-Polovinka 1 20 

99/ Lithic artifacts from Ust-Polovinka 1 20 

1 00/ Map of Excavation Area III, Ust-Polovinka 1 2 1 

101/ Stratigraphic profile of Excavation Area III, Ust-Polovinka 1 2 1 

1 02/ Lithic artifacts from Excavation Area III, Ust-Polovinka 1 22 

1 03/ Map of Excavation Area IV, Ust-Polovinka 1 23 

1 04/ Stratigraphic profile of Excavation Area IV, Ust-Polovinka 1 24 

1 05/ Lithic artifacts from Excavation Areas IV and V, Ust-Polovinka 1 24 

1 06/ Lithic artifacts collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka 128 

1 07/ Lithic artifacts collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka 1 28 

1 08/ Lithic artifacts collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka 1 29 

1 09/ Arrowheads and scrapers collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka 1 29 

1 1 0/ Scrapers collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka 1 29 

111/ Lithic artifacts collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka 1 30 

1 1 2/ Abrasives and pebble tools collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka 1 30 

1 1 3/ Side-scraper from Ust-Polovinka 1 30 

1 1 4/ Lithic artifacts from Beregovaya 1 30 


1 1 5/ Ceramics from Pyasina III and related sites 1 32 

1 1 6/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina VIIA and related sites 1 32 

1 1 7/ Ceramics from Pyasina IV and Pyasina III 1 33 

1 1 8/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina IV 1 33 

1 1 9/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina IV 1 34 

1 20/ Retouched scrapers from Pyasina IV 1 34 

121/ Retouched scrapers from Pyasina IV 134 

1 22/ Ceramics from various proveniences, Ust-Polovinka 1 35 

1 23/ Map of hearths, Excavation Area II, Ust-Polovinka 1 35 

1 24/ Ceramics from various proveniences, Ust-Polovinka 1 35 

1 25/ Ceramics from various proveniences, Ust-Polovinka 1 35 

1 26/ Ceramics from various proveniences, Ust-Polovinka 1 36 

1 27/ Map of the upper level of Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka 1 36 

1 28/ Lithics from Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka 1 36 

1 29/ Lithics from Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka 1 36 

1 30/ The iron knife from Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka 1 36 

131/ Map of hearths, Excavation Area III, Ust-Polovinka 1 37 

1 32/ Map of Excavation Area IV, Ust-Polovinka 1 38 

1 33/ Ceramics from Malaya Korennaya I and related sites 1 38 

1 34/ Lithics from Malaya Korennaya I 1 40 

1 3 5/ Lithics from Malaya Korennaya I 1 40 

1 36/ Lithics from Malaya Korennaya sites 1 41 

1 37/ Lithics from Malaya Korennaya sites 1 42 

1 38/ Slate tools and a whetstone from Malaya Korennaya 1 42 

1 39/ Iron Age ceramics 142 

140/ Ust-Cherninsk type ceramics from Pyasina IV 144 

141/ Engraved sherds of Ust-Cherninsk-type vessels from Pyasina IV 144 

1 42/ Lithics and other artifacts from various sites 1 45 

1 43/ Refitted rim of a Tagenar-type vessel from Abylaakh IV 1 46 

1 44/ Sherds from various sites 146 

145/ Sherds from Boyarka I, II and Pyasina III 146 

1 46/ Ceramics from Ust-Polovinka and Pyasina IX 1 47 

147/ Bronze and lithic artifacts from various sites 147 

1 48/ Sidescrapers from Avgustovskaya II and Lyungfada I 1 49 

1 49/ Scrapers from Dudypta XII 156 

1 50/ Bronze artifacts from Pyasina VI and Novorybnoye III 1 56 

151/ Bronze arrowheads from Staroye Barkhatovo I 1 57 

1 52/ Map of the excavation of Dyuna III 1 59 

1 53/ Detail of the excavation of Dyuna III 1 60 

1 54/ Overview of the excavation of Dyuna III 161 

1 55/ Overview of the excavation of Dyuna III 1 61 


1 56/ Typical sherds and ceramic cylinder from Dyuna III 1 62 

1 57/ Refitted vessels from Dyuna III 1 63 

1 58/ Sherds from Dyuna III 1 65 

1 59/ Sherds from Dyuna III 1 65 

1 60/ Refitted portion of vessel from Dyuna III 1 65 

161/ Refitted portion of vessel from Dyuna III 1 66 

1 62/ Typical sherds from Dyuna III 1 66 

1 63/ Typical sherds from Dyuna III 1 67 

1 64/ Refitted portion of vessel from Dyuna III 1 67 

1 65/ Sherds from Dyuna III 167 

1 66/ Vessel rims from Dyuna III 167 

1 67/ Vessel rim from Dyuna III 168 

1 68/ Honyaku Turdagin, Nganasan elder from Ust-Avam, western Taymyr, 1 997 1 70 

1 69/ Reconstructions of Native Siberian dwellings 1 75 

1 70/ Khiobystin's field camp on the Yugor Peninsula, 1 987 1 94 

171/ Full-grown larch forest in western Taymyr 1 96 

1 72/ Abandoned Nganasan camp along the Avam River, western Taymyr, 2001 1 98 

1 73/ Leonid Khiobystin lectures at the Beiyi Nos polar station 200 

1 74/ Leonid Khiobystin in a hunting cabin at the abandoned village of Khabarovo, 1 984 220 


1/ Leonid Pavolovich Khiobystin (1 931 ~1 988), on a barge going down the Pechora River, summer 1987. 
Photographer Vladimir Pitull<o. 



This volume by the late Russian Arctic archaeologist 
Leonid P. Khiobystin (1931-1 988) is the first Russian 
translation to be published in the Arctic Studies 
Center's Contributions to Circumpoiar Anthropology 
series. At a time when major advances are being 
made in the archaeology of the Russian Arctic, we 
have been concerned that many important Russian- 
language monographs are not accessible to Western 
scholars. This problem has become more acute 
since the end of the 1960s when the pioneering 
Russian translation series, Antliropoiogyofthe North: 
Translations from Russian Sources, edited by Henry 
N. Michael, ceased being published by the Arctic 
Institute of North America (AINA). 

Even though some Russian monographs from 
Chukotka and the Russian Far East have been trans- 
lated and published during the past decade by the 
National Park Service (NPS) in Anchorage as part 
of their Shared Beringian Heritage Program, there 
remains a major geographic gap because the NPS 
publications have been restricted to northeastern 
Siberia, leaving unsupported most of the Russian 
Arctic from the White Sea to Chukotka. The idea to 
publish more Russian Arctic monograph translations 
through the ASC series was further stimulated by our 
late colleague, James W. VanStone, who, through 
AINA, as an advisor to the International Research 
and Exchanges Board (IREX), and as a curator of the 
Smithsonian's Crossroads of Continents exhibition. 

constantly sought to expand Russian-American col- 
laboration and publication exchange. 

For our first volume we have selected a work that 
has an unusual history and a special Smithsonian 
connection. Its author, the late Leonid P. Khiobystin, 
died of cancer in 1988 at the age of fifty-seven. 
Although he had already established his reputation as 
the leading Russian archaeologist specializing in the 
Central Siberian Arctic, he was barely known outside 
of the former Soviet Union. Among Western scholars, 
Khiobystin's work was overshadowed by that of Sergei 
Rudenko, Aleksei Okladnikov, Valerii Chernetsov, and 
Vanda Moshinskaia, whose assembled Russian papers 
and monographs were translated by Henry Michael in 
the AINA series. Further, most European and North 
American scholars who followed Soviet arctic research 
from the 1 960s through the 1 980s were preoccupied 
with cultural developments either in Chukotka or 
Western Siberia, areas that were more relevant to their 
own interests in Alaska and Scandinavia. 

The authors of this foreword have personal stories 
to tell about Leonid Khiobystin. One of us (IK) fol- 
lowed his work closely for years in the former Soviet 
Union, mainly through his long-term associate, the 
late Russian ethnologist Galina N. Gracheva. For the 
other author (WF), the situation was very different 
and demonstrates how isolated and even fortuitous 
contacts of the "old days" eventually spurred col- 
laboration, often several decades later. 


The story is worth recording here. In 1986, 
Khiobystin was invited to tal<e part in an archaeo- 
logical conference at the Smithsonian Institution 
co-chaired by then-Smithsonian Secretary Robert 
McCormick Adams, C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky of 
Harvard University, and Vladimir Masson, the for- 
mer Director of the Leningrad Branch of the Soviet 
Institute of Archaeology. Although the Arctic was not 
of prime interest to the organizers, who were Near 
Eastern and Central Asian scholars concerned with 
the origins of complex civilizations, a few specialists 
of other regions were invited, including Khiobystin 
and Fitzhugh. We quickly found much to talk about, 
and by the time the meetings drew to a close, I (WF) 
remember being excited by having made contact 
with a colleague who had made so much sense 
of the "mysterious" Central Soviet Arctic and was 
interested in participating in studies of two areas of 
mutual interest: cultural connections between Yamal 
and Bering Strait and the origins of arctic maritime 
adaptations. Indeed, our goodbyes at the end of the 
conference were made with explicit plans for future 
collaboration. But as fate would have it, shortly 
thereafter I learned that he was ill, and before we 
had another chance to meet, he died, leaving his 
unfinished research in the hands of his students. 

Thus, for years both of us wondered when the 
thousands of years of culture history Khiobystin had 
discovered in the Taymyr region would be made avail- 
able to English-reading researchers. Sadly, Khiobystin 
did not live to see his major monograph in print in the 
former USSR. As it happened, we need not have wor- 
ried about the preservation of his legacy, for within 
ten years, Khiobystin's students Vladimir Pituiko and 
Vladimir Shumkin, both of the Institute for the Study 
of History of Material Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia 
(currently known by its Russian acronym IIMK {Institut 
istohi material'noi kul'tui^y), assembled his seminal 
thesis. Ancient History of Taymyr and tine Formation 
of North Eurasian Cultures, which he had defended in 
1 982 for publication in Russian. For the 1 998 Russian 


edition, the editors added a new introduction, a list 
of illustrations, and compiled a list of Khiobystin's 
publications, but did not attempt to update the text 
or bibliography. 

Even before the Russian volume appeared in 
1998, one of its co-editors, Vladimir Pituiko, sug- 
gested that the Arctic Studies Center consider pub- 
lishing an English edition. Given the great importance 
of Khiobystin's research to circumpolar archaeology, 
and in particular, his synthesis of Taymyr prehistory, 
we responded with enthusiasm. 

To English-speaking archaeologists, the Taymyr 
Peninsula has been one of the least-known regions of 
the Russian Arctic. Until Khiobystin's thesis appeared 
in Russian, the region was equally mysterious to 
Russians. Few archaeologists penetrated Taymyr, 
preferring instead to work gradually into this unex- 
plored area from the better-known regions of the Ob 
and Yenisey rivers in the west or from the Lena River 
basin in the east. A measure of the geographic isola- 
tion of the region is the fact that Taymyr remained 
one of the few areas of northern Russia that sup- 
ported a significant population of wild reindeer (or 
caribou) that had disappeared in most other regions 
of the Russian North due to competition and preda- 
tion from reindeer-herding groups. 

Another factor in our decision to publish this 
volume is the fact that Khiobystin's research— unlike 
that of his internationally known peers such as 
Sergei Arutiunov, Dorian Sergeev, Nikolai Dikov, 
lurii Mochanov, and some senior Russian archaeolo- 
gists of the earlier generation, such as Okladnikov, 
Rudenko, Chernetsov, and Moshinskaia— has only in 
one instance appeared in English. Khiobystin pub- 
lished a single short paper in Arctic Anthropology, 
the journal that for decades has served as the main 
venue for dissemination of research by Russian 
Arctic scholars. However, his paper, titled "The 
Stratified Settlement of Ulan-Khada on Lake Baikal" 
(1969), has nothing to do with his work in Taymyr. 
For reasons that are unclear, he chose to present his 


major findings only in venues available to Russian 
polar specialists. As a result, Taymyr and most of 
the adjacent Russian coast from 55 to 1 1 5 E, some 
2,500 kilometers along the Arctic Circle, remained 
terra incognita to Western scholars. 

In a pattern familiar to many polar archaeolo- 
gists, Khiobystin preferred fieldwork to publication 
and a small boat or a shaky field tent to his office 
in St. Petersburg. He published fifteen articles on 
Taymyr, but no major monograph or book. After 
completing his Taymyr field studies and defending 
his full doctorate in 1 982 and before converting his 
thesis into a published monograph, he switched 
immediately to a new study area along the shore 
of the eastern Barents Sea in the western Russian 
Arctic. Here he made spectacular discoveries that 
continued almost until his death at the peak of his 
professional career. 

Khiobystin left behind a large volume of published 
and unpublished manuscripts, a huge collection of 
artifacts and field notes now curated at the IIMK in St. 
Petersburg, and a flock of excellent students. However, 
his greatest achievement was his unsurpassed contri- 
bution to the study of the early people and cultures 
of the northernmost fringe of the Eurasian Arctic, a 
region that prior to his surveys was unknown to the 
non-Russian world. After his death, Khiobystin's col- 
leagues and former students took up the challenge of 
completing his life's work. In five years they produced 
a posthumous festschrift. Ad Polus (1993) in which 
five of his latest papers were published, together 
with scores of other articles. Tragically, that same 
year, Khiobystin's partner in his Taymyr surveys, 
ethnologist Galina Gracheva, was killed in a helicopter 
crash while conducting fieldwork in Chukotka. With 
this double tragedy, Russian anthropological stud- 
ies of the Taymyr Peninsula and of its indigenous 
Nganasan people were instantaneously orphaned. 
It took another five years before the thinned ranks 
of students and colleagues were able to convert his 
unpublished thesis into a book (1998). 

A reserved man who was shy with strangers, 
Khiobystin never engaged in the academic feuds and 
turf-fighting that so often plagued the arctic anthro- 
pological community. He enjoyed interdisciplinary 
and collaborative work and probably published more 
papers co-authored with archaeologists, ethnologists, 
paleobotanists, geologists, and radiocarbon-dating 
specialists than any of his colleagues in Siberian 
Arctic prehistory. This interdisciplinary and coopera- 
tive spirit is part of his lasting legacy to arctic studies 
and illuminates his memory as scientist, partner, and 
mentor to many Russian arctic specialists today. 

We are grateful to Vladimir Pituiko, one of 
Khiobystin's students and co-editor of his posthu- 
mous Russian monograph of 1998; to the Dmitrii 
Bulanin Publishing House and the IIMK in St. 
Petersburg, which produced the Russian volume; 
and to its English translators, Leonid Vishniatski 
and Boris Grudinko, all of whom greatly assisted our 
efforts to publish Khiobystin's Taymyr work. Special 
thanks are due to the Atherton Seidell Endowment 
Fund of the Smithsonian Institution, which supported 
publication with a generous grant; to John Ziker who 
kindly offered some of his Taymyr photographs as 
illustrations for this book; and to Erica Hill and Sue 
Mitchell, the volume's managing and production 
editors, respectively. 

We made few changes to the original Russian 
edition, marked with brackets in the text, other 
than adding this foreword, selecting a shorter and 
more appealing English title, and providing a new 
preface written by Vladimir Pituiko. We also added 
a few personal photographs of Khiobystin, his crew 
members, and of the Taymyr landscapes taken by 
Vladimir Pituiko. We have also added two appendices 
that Western readers may find helpful. This slightly 
amended translation of L. P. Khiobystin's historic 
monograph therefore becomes Volume 5 of the ASC 
Contributions to Circumpoiar Antlnropoiogy series 
and is the inaugural issue of a sub-series devoted to 
Siberian anthropology. 



2/ Vladimir Pituiko excavating at the Bytyk site, Taymyr Peninsula, 1997. Photographer Andrei Ivano 


re face to the /\merican edition 


The name of Leonid Khiobystin is hardly known to 
the English reader, either layman or specialist, for a 
number of reasons. First, the overwhelming major- 
ity of Khiobystin's work was published in Russian. 
Second, the polar region that he studied lies beyond 
the traditional purview of western Arctic archaeolo- 
gists. The time he was actively writing and working 
as a field archaeologist did not favor contact of 
Russian— then Soviet— scientists with their Western 

Conventionally, there are three regions upon 
which researchers working on the prehistory of the 
Arctic focus their attention. They are: (1 ) the Bering 
Strait or, more generally, Beringia, an area that 
includes a considerable portion of Northeast Asia 
bordered by the Lena River valley to the east and 
the Novosibirsk Islands to the west; (2) the Canadian 
Eastern Arctic, including Greenland; and (3) the 
European Arctic and Subarctic, which includes north- 
ern Scandinavia and the arctic portion of European 
Russia. The latter also includes the Yamal Peninsula, 
situated in Asia, strictly speaking— justifiable in both 
a cultural and historical sense. 

Thus, the Taymyr Peninsula occupies the very 
center of the Eurasian Arctic and for a great many 
of my colleagues is a geographical rather than a 
cultural-historical phenomenon. The ancient past 
of Taymyr is rich in history due to its central geo- 
graphic position; events there were closely related to 
prehistoric questions relevant to both northeastern 

Asia and to the Far North of European Russia. These 
questions include the origins of reindeer herding and 
ceramics, and how and why major cultural transitions 
occurred. Leonid Khiobystin's book is dedicated to 
these questions. 

When I became acquainted with Leonid Khiobystin 
in 1981, I was an archaeology undergraduate at 
Leningrad State University. Khiobystin was a senior 
researcher at what was then the Leningrad Branch of 
the Institute of Archaeology of the USSR Academy of 
Sciences— now the Institute for the Study of History 
of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sci- 
ences. Khiobystin was the institute's deputy director 
for science and research, one of the most success- 
ful Soviet archaeologists, a man in his prime, just 
past fifty. When we got acquainted, it was difficult 
to foresee that in two years' time we would work 
together and that in another four years he would be 
gone. Incidentally, in those years he was working on 
this very book, which originated in his full doctoral 
thesis, completed in 1982. 

Khiobystin's book presents a revised version of 
his doctoral thesis, since he had no time to rewrite 
it as a monograph. Instead, he devoted time and 
effort to a new project— research on the arctic region 
between the rivers Pechora and Ob. This research 
complemented his Taymyr work; he intended to 
eventually summarize his entire body of work on 
the Taymyr, Yamal, and Pechora regions. This was 
not to be. 


Khiobystin's name was known to me long before 
we became acquainted in 1981, the year I missed 
my last and only chance to participate in his Taymyr 
field trip to the Verknyaya (Upper) Taymyra River, 
the last of his Taymyr surveys spanning fifteen 
years. By that time, Leonid Khiobystin had already 
become one of the great Russian archaeologists. 
There are few big names in Russian Arctic archaeol- 
ogy—Aleksei Okladnikov, Nina Gurina, Nikolai Dikov, 
lurii Mochanov, Svetlana Fedoseeva and Leonid 
Khiobystin is surely positioned prominently within 
this cohort. 

My own archaeological career started in the 
city of Magadan, where I took part in a number of 
Nikolai Dikov's surveys. Later I worked in the field 
with Khiobystin on his Pechora River project. At the 
same time, I was working under Nina Gurina (after 
Khiobystin's death, Gurina became my Ph.D. advisor). 
In the fall of 1977, sitting by the dying campfire at 
the Ushki site, I heard Khiobystin's name for the first 
time. Dikov and I were talking about labrets (pierced 
lip decorations) and how they were worn in the past, 
while exchanging opinions on the Avachinskaya 
site excavations near the city of Petropavlovsk- 
Kamchatski. Dikov asked, "Do you know that labret- 
wearing was far more popular than believed and 
could actually include all of northern Northeast Asia, 
Taymyr included? The point is Khiobystin keeps find- 
ing labret-like objects while excavating Maimeche 
culture sites in Taymyr." 

The name connected with this curious fact stuck 
in my memory. Later, reading the archaeological 
literature, I realized that Khiobystin was single- 
handedly and very successfully correcting a lacuna in 
our knowledge of the archaeology of a critical arctic 
region— the Taymyr Peninsula. He was addressing 
questions such as the origin of the arctic reindeer- 
breeding economy, the origin of ceramics, and the 
Neolithic transition in northern Eurasia. His attempt 
to relate culture history to the natural history of the 
region under consideration was undoubtedly one of 


the strongest aspects of his research. Those years 
he was one of very few in the world advocating this 

After graduation, I tried to dedicate myself 
to research on archaeological materials from 
Northeast Asia, following the example of my first 
teacher, Professor Dikov. When we talked before 
I left Magadan, Dikov told me: "Try to work with 
Khiobystin. It'll be good for you anyway, and your 
whole future may be connected with it." Dikov was 
right. I met Khiobystin on 22 April 1 981 —the day of 
the so-called Lenin Communistic Subbotnik [the day 
of public volunteer work in the former Soviet Union], 
organized by the Leningrad Branch of the Institute 
of Archaeology. Every year on that day, even senior 
scientists concerned themselves with some senseless 
work, which had been neglected through oversight, 
carelessness, or want of resources. In this particular 
case, in the courtyard of the institute a group of 
doctoral students and professors of different ages 
were cheerfully shoveling snow. At that time, a uni- 
versity fellow of mine, Igor Maniukhin— now an Early 
Iron Age specialist from Petrozavodsk, Karelia— who 
was about to participate in Khiobystin's expedition 
to the Verknyaya Taymyra River, introduced me to 
Khiobystin. Though I had seen Leonid Khiobystin 
before, attending Palaeolithic Department meetings 
at the institute and listening to reports about his 
work in Taymyr, I had not been formally introduced 
to him. It was obvious to me that he was a man of 
colossal scientific erudition, very even-tempered and 
with a well-developed sense of humor and irony. 
He had the authority and respect of his colleagues, 
in spite of his relatively young age. His stories and 
slides accompanying his reports introduced us to 
research in regions that were strikingly different 
from any others studied by members of the institute. 
Khiobystin's work awakened within me, the son of a 
Russian geologist, the deepest instincts of the early 
explorers. This was the kind of life that I wanted to 
live, the kind of science I wanted to do, and the man 


who was doing this work embodied all the character- 
istics of leadership that I could think of. 

I did not hesitate when, a few years later, in 1 984, 
Khiobystin offered me a chance to participate in his 
Pechora River project, which he had just launched. 
Unfortunately, the project did not last. Khiobystin's 
illness allowed him only four years. But by that time, 
we had completed all the preliminary work and were 
soon to discover new archaeological sites, outline the 
culture history of the Palaeolithic in the region, and 
excavate a series of magnificent bronze castings. 
During the short time I had with Khiobystin, we were 
in close contact discussing expedition plans and 
their results, while in the field we shared the journey, 
risk, and work. Nothing can bring people closer than 
hardship— snow storms that obliterated our camp, 
endless kilometers of surveys, voyages among blocks 
of ice on unreliable vessels, bread mixed with sand, 
a last shared cigarette, campfires on empty shores, 
cold, and rain. Through these trials, I came to think 
of Khiobystin as my friend. His death was the first 
genuine loss of my life, and the day we buried him 
was the day I grew up a dank St. Petersburg day in 
March with light snow. 

When I recall Professor Leonid Khiobystin, my 
teacher, companion and friend, I feel both gratitude 
and sorrow. Gratitude— because thanks to him, I 
have become what I am; my effort to continue his 
work helps me in my own. Thanks to Khiobystin, I 
count among my friends the people he knew— Galina 
Gracheva, Svetlana Studzitskaia, Lena Shieonskaia, 
German Ivanov, Igor Krupnik. As a tribute to 

Khiobystin, we prepared the manuscript of his doc- 
toral thesis. It took until 1 998 to publish it in Russian. 
I should mention that this publication excited great 
interest both in Russia and abroad and the edition 
is now sold out. 

Our knowledge of the Taymyr region has not 
changed in the last twenty years since Khiobystin's 
pioneering work for two reasons: the break-up of the 
Soviet Union and the lingering economic recession 
that followed. Very little archaeology has been done 
in Taymyr since Khiobystin's death and nothing can 
match his work, both in terms of its sheer volume 
and scientific depth. 

The English language version was prepared 
thanks to the support and effort of the people who 
knew Leonid Khiobystin; the translation was done 
with the support of Professor Knut Helskog (Troms0 
University, Norway) by Leonid Vishniatski, of the 
Palaeolithic Department of the Institute for the Study 
of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy 
of Sciences, St. Petersburg, where Khiobystin worked 
for many years. Publication of the manuscript by 
the Arctic Studies Center became possible thanks 
to the decision of William Fitzhugh and Igor Krupnik 
to include the work in the ASC Contributions to 
Circumpolar Anthropology series. 

I bow my head in memory of Leonid Khiobystin. I 
feel an element of uncertainty and profound respect 
for the work of a man who single-handedly brought 
thousands of square kilometers of a vast and 
severe arctic landscape to the attention of scientists 
throughout Russia and the world. 



3/ Khiobystin's field crew at the Beiyi Nos polar station, before its move to Vaygach Island, Kara Sea, 1987. 
Left to right: Leonid Khiobystin, Lena Shieonskaia, Andrei Khiobystin, Dmitrii Matveev. Photographer Vladimir 


preface to the f^i 

ussian e 




The name of Leonid Pavlovitch Khiobystin (1931- 
1 988), a talented archaeologist and a pioneer in the 
study of the prehistory of the Russian Arctic, is well 
known and needs little introduction. However, time 
goes by quickly. It is already more than ten years 
since he passed away [1 998], and some people who 
knew him well are also gone. It is possible that this 
book, prepared by Khiobystin in the early 1 980s and 
intended for publication at that time, would now 
look somewhat different. Many new discoveries have 
been made across the circumpolar region, and they 
could have had a substantial impact upon some of 
the ideas that were forwarded by Khiobystin more 
than fifteen years ago. 

Khiobystin's field surveys were extensive and 
included the Crimean Peninsula and Central Asia to 
the south, the Kola Peninsula and Svalbard in the 
European Arctic, Lake Baikal, Kamchatka Peninsula 
and Central Siberia, the valleys of the Mezen and the 
Pechora rivers in the Russian North, Vaygach Island in 
the Barents Sea, the Yamal Peninsula and, finally, the 
Taymyr Peninsula in the Russian High Arctic. Every 
field season demanded a new journey and vigorous 
work— work that led to contact with ancient cultures 
and contributed to the formation of a broad-based 
historical vision. 

Khiobystin's research is remarkable for raising 
fundamental issues and searching for new approaches 
to them. All of his major publications demonstrate an 

abiding interest in larger problems. For instance, his 
small monograph devoted to the Lipovaya Kuria site 
in the Miass district of the Chelyabinsk region— the 
southern Trans-Ural area— contains not only a careful 
description of the material he had excavated from 
1 962 to 1 963 and 1 966, but also provides a broader 
historical context for the formation of forest-based 
"Andronoid" cultures inhabiting the periphery of the 
Andronovo culture area (Khiobystin 1 976:49-63). 

Khiobystin's works are rich in original ideas 
and approaches. Unfortunately, many of these 
ideas have never been worked out in detail due 
both to their author's demanding standards and to 
his overloaded schedule of scientific, public, and 
administrative work. For a number of years he was 
the deputy director for science of the Leningrad 
Branch of the Institute of Archaeology of the for- 
mer Soviet Academy of Sciences in Leningrad. 
His insightful paper "Sociological Problems in the 
Neolithic of Northern Eurasia" (1 972a:26-42; see also 
Appendix 1) contains a number of ideas regarding 
the structure of Neolithic sites in the North, their 
economy and social relations as reflected in archi- 
tecture and material culture. Khiobystin's erudition 
enabled him to explore original hypotheses about the 
social structure of northern Neolithic societies. For 
example, he proposed that social inequalities, and 
possibly slavery, existed in the Neolithic societies of 
the forest zone of Russia. He also suggested that men 


belonged to totem-based clans, while women traced 
descent matrilineally (1 972a:39, 42). 

Khiobystin found it necessary to introduce 
new terms designed to reflect different economic 
adaptations. He coined the term "Ago-Neolithic" to 
designate groups of hunters, gatherers, and fishers, 
whereas he applied the term "Agro-Neolithic" to early 
agriculturalists. Though some of the points made 
in the paper are debatable, the ideas stimulated 
subsequent research. In one of his earlier papers, 
presented in 1968 at a conference devoted to the 
problem of ethnic and cultural communities in the 
Neolithic, he applied formal lithic analysis to a series 
of projectile points. At the time, such studies were 
just beginning in Russian archaeology. Khiobystin, 
however, had started to develop this approach much 
earlier, in his student days. Unfortunately, he was 
unable to pursue this subject in subsequent research. 
Khiobystin was also among the first to explore the 
Siberian Mesolithic and Neolithic through interdisci- 
plinary studies of important sites such as Tagenar 
VI and Ust-Polovinka. 

The earliest settlement of the Arctic was always 
of interest to Khiobystin. Questions involving the 
virtually unexplored northern sections of Western and 
Central Siberia also engaged him. Until Khiobystin's 
surveys, almost no archaeological research had been 
conducted there since Valerii N. Chernetsov's work 
in the 1 950s and 60s. In 1 965, lurii G. Korolev, who 
was working on a geodetic expedition on the Yamal 
Peninsula, discovered an ancient Vorkuta site in the 
interior. The materials from the site were passed to the 
Institute of Archaeology in Leningrad. This accidental 
discovery demonstrated the necessity of systematic 
field explorations in tundra and arctic areas. 

In 1966, Khiobystin's efforts led to the forma- 
tion of the Polar Field Research Team {Zapoliarnyi 
ortriad), which was soon reorganized and became 
the Polar Expedition. Even the first expedition to 
the Yamal Peninsula in 1966 produced interesting 
materials that made it possible to correct earlier 


dates and to describe for the first time the so-called 
Yar-Sale-type ceramics. The 1 966 work in Yamal was 
carried out in close cooperation with ethnologist 
Liudmila V. Khomich. The resulting work showed 
how fruitful such cooperation could be. 

In 1967, Khiobystin began his long-term survey 
project in Taymyr. The vast territory of the penin- 
sula combined with its sparse population made the 
explorations very time-consuming and sometimes 
even dangerous— all the more so because of lim- 
ited means. The only transportation the expedition 
had in 1 967-1 968 was an inflatable rubber dinghy. 
Nonetheless, Khiobystin's team managed to survey 
a considerable part of central Taymyr and to dis- 
cover and excavate several sites in the Pyasina and 
Kheta watersheds, including Tagenar VI, the oldest 
archaeological site known from the peninsula (dated 
to between 6000 and 5000 B.C.). 

One surprising discovery was that of a bronze- 
casting workshop dated to the twelfth century B.C. 
at the site of Abylaakh I. An image on a mold from 
this ancient workshop was adopted as the emblem 
of the Polar Expedition. Equally important were the 
materials from the Maimeche I and IV sites (4000 to 
3000 B.C.), including three unique steatite labrets. 
The new materials made it possible for Khiobystin to 
provide evidence in support of Aleksei Okladnikov's 
hypothesis that the ancient inhabitants of Taymyr 
were connected to many of the adjacent East Siberian 
Neolithic populations. Comparative analysis led to 
the conclusion that the Taymyr labrets dated to an 
earlier period than lip decorations from America and 
Northeast Asia. Khiobystin's work made it possible 
to speak of an Asian origin for this form of material 

Khiobystin was an extremely talented archaeo- 
logical surveyor— a quality that was to shine in the 
Taymyr expeditions. Archaeology in the tundra zone 
and on the border between the tundra and the forest 
demanded special abilities, and Khiobystin was able 
to use his talents to make unique discoveries. Since 


1 969, the Polar Expedition included an ethnographic 
group from the Leningrad Branch of the Institute 
of Ethnography and the Museum of Anthropology 
and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). Students from the 
Department of Ethnography of Leningrad University 
and staff researchers from the State Historical 
Museum in Moscow also took part in field projects. 
Such cooperation broadened the range of study to 
include the economies and lifeways of the Nenets, 
Enets, Nganasan, Dolgan, Evenk, and other native 
people of the Central Russian Arctic. These projects 
also produced data on old interments, camps, and 
sacred sites found in the course of reconnaissance 
work. Archaeological finds were contextualized using 
rich ethnographic materials. 

In 1969, Khiobystin's team surveyed the valleys 
of the Avama and Dudypta rivers with the help of 
an old wooden boat equipped with a light motor. 
More prehistoric sites were identified. Some of 
them were heavily eroded and yielded only surface 
finds. This was the case with the Ivanovskaya site, 
where white and yellow chalcedony and rose jasper 
were discovered in situ. The spatial distribution of 
cores, flakes, and blades allowed the researchers to 
determine the place where an ancient flint knapper 
had once worked. 

Another survey, along the mouth of the Yenisey 
River, the Yenisey Bay, and adjacent parts of the 
Gydan Peninsula produced few archaeological finds. 
A Bronze Age site was discovered at the mouth of 
the Golchikha River. The expedition also identified 
and excavated a number of burials of Samoyedic 
speakers (Nenets) from the nineteenth century, 
children's cemeteries from the seventeenth century 
and associated bone points, and several ceremonial 
sites, including an important one located on Shaytan 
[Russian for "wooden figure"] Cape. The discovery 
of a partially intact shaman's sledge with some cult 
objects placed on the tundra many years ago was 
another success. The sledge was found near the gas 
pipeline running from Messoyaha to Norilsk; it is a 

wonder that it escaped total destruction. Today the 
sledge is part of the unique collections of the Peter 
the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography 
in St. Petersburg. 

The field season of 1 971 was one of the longest 
and most productive. Using two boats named in 
jest "Kary-To" and "Lo-Han" [both names are Russian 
words for "wash-tub" intentionally altered to sound 
like Samoyedic and Chinese names, respectively], 
the expedition explored the Pyasina River, from its 
upper reaches to the Mokoritto River mouth and 
continued the excavation of burials at the mouth of 
the Golchikha River. Some new sites with evidence of 
bronze casting were found in the Pyasina River basin. 
These sites supported the identification of a distinc- 
tive "Pyasina culture," dated to the ninth through 
the fourth centuries B.C., which was connected with 
the boreal forest portion of the Yenisey River valley 
to the south. Material from several more ceremonial 
sites was collected. The expedition participants also 
attended and documented a Nganasan shaman's 
ritual performance (kamlanie). 

In 1971, Khiobystin's team garnered attention 
for its search for traces of the so-called Syupsya, a 
legendary tribe that supposedly had lived in Taymyr 
before the formation of its present-day ethnic groups 
(e.g., the Nganasan, Nenets, and Enets). The expedi- 
tion studied places called "Syupsya graves" by the 
Nganasan and Dolgan, which appeared simitar to 
Chukchi or Eskimo burial grounds. The so-called 
"graves" proved to be bulges of frozen ground 
encircled with disintegrating blocks of stone. 

In 1972 the expedition returned to the upper 
reaches of the Pyasina River via the Dudypta River, 
Tagenar Lakes, and the Volochanka, Kheta and 
Khatanga rivers to the settlement of Zhdanikha. In 
1 972 and 1 973, the expedition focused on the exca- 
vation of ancient long-term dwellings at the Pyasina 
River sites of Dyuna l-IV and Polovinka. Dyuna III 
turned out to be the first site that provided evidence 
for migrations from West Siberia at the end of the 



first millennium A.D. The excavation of the site at the 
Polovinka River mouth demonstrated once again that 
the earlier finds connected to bronze casting were not 
accidental. An ancient bronze plate resembling an eye 
and decorated with a fluted pattern invited analogies 
to the sun-eye symbol of the Nganasan. According 
to Nganasan beliefs, wearing such an image on the 
chest ensures health and well-being. In 1 974, the sur- 
vey work moved to the east, to the Khatanga, Kheta, 
Novaya, and Bludnaya rivers, and the shores of Lake 
Labaz. There the expedition discovered artifacts and 
features such as a wooden figurine burial and the 
remains of old Russian winter huts. 

During the eight years that the Polar Expedition 
worked in Taymyr, Khiobystin's team explored nearly 
all areas contiguous to the old Khatanga road, which 
connected the former village of Dudino [the present- 
day town of Dudinka] with the town of Khatanga and 
Khatanga Bay. The exploration of the northern por- 
tion of the Taymyr Peninsula, far from the main water- 
ways, seemed nearly impossible due to the lack of 
funds for air transportation. Particularly attractive for 
Khiobystin was the VerkhnyayaTaymyra River with its 
tributaries, the Gorbita and Logata rivers. According 
to the information received from ethnologist Boris 
O. Dolgikh and local native residents, the Nganasan 
and Dolgan, and judging by the latitudinal position 
of these rivers, Khiobystin expected to find camps 
and kill sites left by ancient caribou hunters. 

It was not until 1981 that Khiobystin, with help 
from the Norilsk Institute for Agriculture in the Far 
North, was able to conduct a survey in northern 
Taymyr. This project produced new evidence demon- 
strating that this area was regularly visited by ancient 
hunters during the first millennium A.D., and as long 
ago as the fifth millennium B.C. 

Khiobystin intended to continue the exploration 
of the northern interior of the Taymyr Peninsula. 
Specifically, he planned to conduct reconnaissance 
work in the area of Lake Taymyr, considered by many 
eastern Nganasan to be their motherland. However, 


this project was never realized. The 1 981 field season 
demonstrated once again the logistic challenges of 
working in the northern interior of the peninsula with- 
out adequate transportation and sufficient fuel. 

During his Taymyr years, Khiobystin frequently 
helped the Taymyr Regional Museum in Dudinka, 
advising its staff and preparing the first archaeologi- 
cal exhibition for the museum. There is no need to 
explain the importance of the Polar Expedition's work 
in Taymyr. Until Khiobystin's work, only four archaeo- 
logical sites had been identified there. He discovered 
over two hundred new sites. This made it possible 
to answer many questions related to the genesis of 
aboriginal ethnic groups, to demonstrate the regional 
diversity of this historical process and its connection 
with similar processes occurring in adjacent regions. 
Although new projects will produce new insights, 
Khiobystin's work will endure, in particular, his thesis, 
The Ancient History of Taymyr and the Formation of 
North Eurasian Cultures, which he defended in 1 982 
and which became the core of this book. 

In his thesis, Khiobystin formulated a number 
of hypotheses fundamental to our understand- 
ing of the processes that took place in northern 
Eurasia prehistorically. For example, Khiobystin 
demonstrated that the idea that a single circumpo- 
lar culture descended from a Uralic-speaking ethnic 
group could be rejected. One of Khiobystin's primary 
conclusions was that empirical data can reveal the 
basic mechanisms of culture change: "the fact that 
cultures of the Far North have features in common is 
due to a number of reasons, the most important of 
which are ecological and due to diffusion (Khiobystin 
1 982:33). Many of Khiobystin's ideas find more and 
more support in recent discoveries. For example, 
Khiobystin suggested that the southern portion 
of East Siberia included "one of the centers where 
people independently mastered ceramic production. 
After their appearance in the southern part of East 
Siberia in the fifth millennium B.C., net ceramics 
quickly spread, and by the fourth millennium, were 


manufactured throughout the region. The spread 
of these early ceramics was not associated with the 
spread of a single ethnic group, but rather was the 
result of cultural diffusion" (Khiobystin 1982:9). 
Although we now know that the dates are earlier than 
Khiobystin thought, the idea itself, so clearly formu- 
lated, remains of central importance to the study of 
the early Neolithic cultures of Northern Eurasia. 

In 1982 and 1983, in connection with the con- 
struction of the Turukhansk hydroelectric power 
station, Khiobystin carried out salvage surveys in 
the zone slated for flooding. In 1984, the Polar 
Expedition began its surveys on Vaygach Island 
in the southeastern Barents Sea. The work was 
conducted both on the island itself and along 
the adjacent areas of the Yugor Peninsula and 
the Korotaikha River valley. In 1987, the last field 
season for Khiobystin, his expedition started to 
explore the Lower Pechora River valley. This final 
survey, much like those undertaken in previous 
years, was extremely productive. For the first time 
in the history of archaeological research in the polar 
areas of northern Russia, the expedition excavated 
stratified sites from the first millennium A.D., Mys 
Vkhodnoy (1 984-1 986) and Karpova Cuba (1 985). 
Additionally, the expedition discovered unique 
sacrificial sites at Cape Diakonov (1 984-1 987) and 
Bolvanskaya Cora (1 985). In 1 985, the Ortino sites 
were discovered along the lower reaches of the 
Pechora River. The data obtained in these years laid 
the foundation for further studies of the prehistory 
of the region and are of primary importance to his- 
torical reconstructions. Unfortunately, Khiobystin 
had only a short time left to consider those new 
data in detail. 

Khiobystin's life ended just as he reached his 
prime. He was bustling with the new plans and he 
had just made significant new discoveries on Vaygach 
island and the Yugor Peninsula in the eastern Barents 
Sea. In April of 1 987, he organized a session at the 
Institute of Archaeology that focused upon Russian 
Arctic history and culture. This was the first forum 
on the archaeology of the Russian Far North, and 
Khiobystin was the chairman of its organizing com- 
mittee. At this meeting, he spoke about the necessity 
of joining forces with and coordinating the activities 
of natural and social scientists studying the history 
of the Arctic. No one else had the creative and orga- 
nizational abilities to accomplish such a task, but 
Khiobystin's time had run out. 

Aware that his terminal illness left him only a 
few months, Khiobystin continued to work, trying to 
accomplish as much as possible in the time he had 
left. At the end of 1 987, he was the chairman of the 
Soviet-Polish working group devoted to the Neolithic 
of the Baltic Sea region. He was also the head of the 
Neolithic group at the Palaeolithic Department of 
the Institute of Archaeology, and he continued to 
produce new publications. As always, he watched 
over the careers of his students and the participants 
of the Polar Expedition. 

The inestimable contribution Leonid Pavlovitch 
Khiobystin made to Russian historical science, 
and particularly to the archaeological study of the 
Eurasian Arctic, has established his name as one 
of the greatest researchers of the prehistory of the 
circumpolar region. 




AINA Arctic Institute of North America 

ASC Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution 

GIN Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 

IIMK Institute for the Study of the History of Material Culture, St. Petersburg 

IM/IMSOAN Institute of Permafrost (Institut merzlotovedeniia), Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of 
Sciences, Yakutsk, Russia (presently inactive) 

IREX International Research and Exchanges Board 

LBIA Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Archaeology 

LC Library of Congress 

LE Leningrad Brach of the (former) Institute of Archaeology, USSR Academy of Sciences, cur- 

rently IIMK, Institute of the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. 
Petersburg, Russia 

LU Leningrad University (currently St. Petersburg University, St. Petersburg, Russia) 

MAE Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St. Petersburg 

MAG Northeast Complex Research Institute, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sci- 

ences, Magadan, Russia 

MO Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Rus- 

sia (presently inactive) 

NIMA National Image and Mapping Agency 

NPS National Park Service 

RAN Russian Academy of Sciences (Rossiiskaia Akademiia Nauk) 

SOAN Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences (pres- 

ently. Institute of Geology, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), Novosibirsk, 

We are grateful to Dr. Yaroslav Kuzmin for his assistance with several acronyms for the Russian radiocarbon- 
dating institutions. 

note on radiocarbon dates 

Unless otherwise stated, all radiocarbon dates presented in this volume are uncorrected and have not 
been calibrated. 


note on 

riilic transliteration 

Two coexisting systems are in use in the United States 
for transliterating Russian Cyrillic letters into English: 
that of the Library of Congress (LC), and that of the 
National Image and Mapping Agency (NIMA, formerly 
the U.S. Board of Geographic Names). The LC system 
is used for bibliographic references; the NIMA system 
applies to geographic names (place names) and to 
most ethnic names. 

All Russian or Siberian geographic names are 
transliterated here according to the NIMA system, 
which uses ya, yu, and yo for Cyrillic a, K), and e 
(Yakutsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, etc.). Throughout this 
volume, Native Siberian ethnic names are translit- 
erated in accordance with the Peoples of the Soviet 
Union map produced by the National Geographic 
Society in 1 989, which basically adheres to the NIMA 
system (Yakut, Yukagir, Koryak, Nanay, etc.). Most 
of these ethnic names are already established in 
Western anthropological literature— thanks largely 
to the Jesup Expedition's pioneering publications. 
This system also results in names reminiscent of 
several Native American ethnonyms familiar to North 
American readers: Yurok, Maya, Yup'ik, Eyak, Yokut, 
Yakutat Tlingit, and so on. Furthermore, the NIMA- 
based spelling of ethnic and geographic names is 
similar to the Russian/Cyrillic transliteration system 
adopted in England and Canada and to the one used 
by modern Russian authors when writing papers in 
English. The NIMA system is also applied here for 
transliterating a few Russian or Native Siberian per- 
sonal names, words, and ethnographic terms. 

In contrast to the NIMA system, the Library of 
Congress transliteration system uses /a, iu, and io 
for the Cyrillic ^, K), and e and an apostrophe for 
the Russian soft sign (6). Because today's highly 
standardized electronic library catalog formats are 
based on the LC system, names of Russian authors 
and all titles of items in the bibliographic reference 
sections in this volume adhere to the LC system. 
Using two transliteration systems in a single book 
may be inconvenient, but every effort has been 
made to adhere strictly to each of these patterns 
in its designated application in order to establish a 
high level of consistency for all future Arctic Studies 
Center publications. For the convenience of read- 
ers, an alternative NIMA-based transliteration of 
Russian authors' names is sometimes provided in 
parentheses in those cases where such a pattern has 
been established by earlier publications (for example, 
the original Jesup Expedition series. Anthropology 
of the North: Translations from Russian Sources, 
etc.). Despite our efforts, we may not have been able 
to eliminate all potential cases of confusion or the 
occasional idiosyncratic usage. 

We are grateful to our colleagues Pavel llyin (U.S. 
Holocaust Museum), Michael Krauss (Alaska Native 
Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks), and 
Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer (editor. Anthropology 
and Archeology of Eurasia) for their advice on trans- 
literation practices for ASC publications. 

4/ Northern side of Lama Lake bordered by the Putorana Mountains in southern Taymyr, 1 997. Photographer 
Vladimir Pitulko. 


In his opening address to the symposium "The 
problems of Ethnography and Anthropology of the 
Arctic Zone," held in Moscow in 1 964 as a part of the 
Seventh International Congress of Anthropological 
and Ethnological Sciences, Boris O. Dolgikh pointed 
out "that the major task of ethnography of the Arctic 
is to determine the origins of the people who live on 
the northernmost portion of this planet" [Dolgikh 
actually used the Greek word oeikumene, which is 
popular in Russia]. This task "involves the question of 
initial arctic settlement and the history of ethnic, eco- 
nomic, and cultural change" (Dolgikh 1 970a:447). He 
noted further that to answer this question required 
archaeological research. Indeed, the problems of 
ethnography and anthropology of the Arctic parallel 
those of archaeology, and archaeological investiga- 
tions now play a leading role in this joint effort [to 
understand culture change in the Arctic]. A huge 
span of time, beginning with the initial occupation 
of the polar region until ethnographic studies of 
its northern peoples began in the middle of the 
nineteenth century, can be studied only by using 
archaeological data. 

Russian Arctic archaeology celebrated its bicen- 
tennial anniversary in 1 987. In 1 787 the prominent 
Russian Navy explorer Gavriil A. Sarychev carried out 
the first archaeological explorations in the Russian 
North. He excavated several semi-subterranean 
dwellings at Cape Baranov, situated several tens of 
kilometers east of the Kolyma River mouth (Sarychev 
1802:95, 96). In the following years, surface finds 

were occasionally collected in polar areas; some 
limited excavations of ancient sites occurred, but 
did not attract the interest of professional archaeolo- 
gists. Only in the Soviet period [i.e., after 1917] has 
the study of the northernmost Russian and Siberian 
past received proper attention. 

On the Kola Peninsula, archaeological work was 
carried out primarily by A.V. Schmidt, B. F. Zemliakov, 
and Nina N. Gurina. In the Bolshezemelskaya tundra 
and in the polar Urals, a number of ancient sites 
were found by the geologist Ceorgii A. Chernov. In 
the lower reaches of the Ob River, near the city of 
Salekhard, and on the Yamal Peninsula, discoveries 
connected with an ancient maritime culture were 
made by Vasilii S. Andrianov, Valerii N. Chernetsov, 
and Vanda I. Moshinskaia (Moszinska). At the mouth 
of the Taz River, R. E. Kols found sites dating from the 
second millennium B.C. to the first millennium A.D. 
A number of sites dating to different time periods 
were discovered and studied on the lower reaches of 
the Lena River and on the Kolyma River by Aleksei P. 
Okladnikov. Okladnikov, together with A. P. Puminov 
and ll'ia S. Gurvich, published materials from sites on 
the Olenek and Indigirka rivers, as well as the first 
Neolithic finds from the interior Chukotka (Chukchi) 
Peninsula, collected by the geologists N. N. Levoshin 
and N. A. Grave. 

In 1 946, the Kolyma Expedition headed by Aleksei 
P. Okladnikov was successful in determining that the 
dwellings excavated by Sarychev had belonged to the 
Shelag, a legendary indigenous tribe with an Eskimo- 


like culture. The Shelag supposedly populated the 
western section of Chukotka. Another scientist 
engaged in the study of ancient Eskimo cultures in 
Chukotka was Sergei I. Rudenko (1 947). Okladnikov 
discussed archaeological investigations of the Eskimo 
period in a number of general articles and attempted 
to distinguish between ancient cultures in the polar 
zone, identify links between them, and compare 
prehistoric cultures with the historic and present 
ethnic groups (Okladnikov 1947a, 1950a, 1951, 
1953, 1960a, 1960b). 

In the polar regions of Russia, systematic archaeo- 
logical explorations began in the 1960s as a result 
of the foundation of the northern divisions and 
research centers of the USSR Academy of Sciences 
[today the Russian Academy of Sciences, commonly 
known by its Russian acronym, RAN] in the northern 
cities of Syktyvkar, Yakutsk, and Magadan. Thanks 
to the fieldwork of V. I. Kanivets, V. E. Luzglin, and 
Lev P. Lashuk in the northern Arkhangelsk Province 
(oblast), the Komi Republic, and the Yamal-Nenets 
Autonomous Area; of lurii A. Mochanov, Svetlana A. 
Fedoseeva, I. V. Konstantinov in northern Yakutia 
[now the Sakha Republic]; and of the late Nikolai N. 
Dikov, as well as Dorian A. Sergeev and Sergei A. 
Arutiunov in Chukotka, our knowledge of the history 
of Russian (Eurasian) Arctic and Subarctic settlement 
has expanded greatly. Important data on the ancient 
history of the Kola Peninsula were obtained by the 
Kola Expedition of the former Leningrad Branch of 
the Institute of Archaeology of the USSR Academy of 
Sciences [now the Institute for the Study of History 
of Material Culture] under the leadership of Nina 
N. Gurina. The discoveries of ancient sites made 
by geologists, biologists, and other specialists also 
contributed to the accumulation of archaeological 
materials. However, the absence of coordination 
of this research resulted in uneven archaeological 
study of polar areas. Many regions either remain 
unexplored or provide only limited data on ancient 
settlement patterns. 

Until the beginning of work by the Polar 
(Zapolyarnaya) Expedition from the Leningrad 
Branch of the Institute of Archaeology, the north- 
ernmost portion of Central Siberia the Taymyr 
Peninsula— had remained one of these little-known 
regions. In his lecture to the Circumpolar Conference 
held in Copenhagen in 1 958, Okladnikov, one of the 
founders of Russian Arctic archaeology, noted that 
"the northernmost and at the same time the most 
inaccessible part of Asia— the Taymyr Peninsula and 
neighboring regions— is a blank space on the archae- 
ological map" (Okladnikov 1 960a;39). Indeed, by the 
1960s, all the materials from this immense region, 
with an area that exceeds that of Norway, Sweden, 
and Denmark combined, amounted to nothing more 
than isolated finds from four locations; moreover, 
finds from three of these sites were virtually unknown 
to archaeologists. Among these was the first ancient 
artifact found in Taymyr a ground slate axe found 
near the town of Dudinka (Petri 1926), now in the 
Irkutsk Regional Museum (Collection 56-1). 

In 1 935, newspapers published a note about the 
discovery of a Palaeolithic site on the bank of the 
Popigay River. According to the article, the finds 
included several stone tools, reindeer bones, and 
objects of unknown function (Panichkina 1 937:267). 
Some of these materials may have been transferred 
to the Irkutsk Regional Museum in the city of Irkutsk, 
which curates the bones of reindeer and a needle- 
case from the Popigay River, Khatanga District, 
Taymyr Autonomous Area in Collection 3. These 
materials were found at a depth of about one meter 
near a Russian izba [peasant log cabin], 11.5 kilome- 
ters down the Nyuchchadkhalyak River, the eastern 
tributary of the Popigay. 

Also important was the discovery by Okladnikov 
of ancient sites near the present town of Khatanga. 
In 1 940 and 1 941 , a winter camp and traces of a 
temporary camp of Russian explorers dating to 
the early seventeenth century were found during 
hydrographic explorations on the northeastern 



coast of Taymyr, near Cape Chelyuskin, the north- 
ernmost tip of the Eurasian continent. Here, on 
northern Faddey Island and on the shore of Sims 
Bay, several sites and another Russian camp were 
explored in 1945 by an archaeological expedition 
headed by Okladnikov. It was during the course 
of this expedition that prehistoric settlements 
were investigated for the first time (Okladnikov 
1947a). Three of five sites found by Okladnikov 
yielded stone tool inventories that can be attrib- 
uted to the Late Neolithic and the Bronze Age. An 
important chronological marker for the Khatanga 
River site comes from an old "vegetable garden," 
which produced a ceramic vessel retaining traces 
of manufacture with a cord-wrapped stick or mallet 
characteristic of the Belkachi culture of Yakutia. This 
artifact dates the Khatanga site to the third millen- 
nium B.C. and identifies it as the northwesternmost 
site of the Belkachi culture, confirming Okladnikov's 
conclusions about the close relationship between 
the Neolithic cultures of Yakutia and the Lower 
Khatanga River and about the "possible ethnic pro- 
pinquity of the oldest populations of these regions" 
(Okladnikov 1947a:44). 

Two other sites, one from the Khatanga River 
garden and another on the left bank of the Khatanga 
six kilometers downriver from the settlement, were 
attributed by Okladnikov to the Early Iron Age. The 
comparison of the inventory of these sites with the 
finds from Yakutia allowed him to conclude that dur- 
ing this period, the inhabitants of the Khatanga River 
were culturally similar to the coeval culture existing 
in adjacent regions of Yakutia. For many years, the 
sites discovered by Okladnikov on the Khatanga River 
remained the northernmost settlements known in 
Eurasia; his primary conclusions have retained their 
significance until the present. 

Ten years passed before traces of an older site 
were found on Taymyr. In 1955, G.A. Znachko- 
Yavorsky from the Institute of Geology of the Arctic 
found a prismatic core on the northwestern shore of 

Lake Labaz. However, this find remained unknown 
to most archaeologists. 

In general, the polar region of Eurasia is unevenly 
and rather poorly explored by archaeologists. This is 
due first of all to the fact that the territory is difficult 
to access and has severe weather. Ancient sites are 
found in frozen soils and are free of snow for only 
a short period during the summer. For these same 
reasons the Far North is very sparsely populated. 
Some subjective factors have also adversely affected 
archaeological exploration of circumpolar areas. 
Archaeological attention has been directed to sites 
in the south where the development of ancient cul- 
tures was more visible archaeologically. The ancient 
cultures of the North were considered to be stagnant, 
poor in material, and without scientific significance. 
In Taymyr, these biases manifested themselves in 
the extreme. 

Since in the northern portion of western Siberia 
sites with stone inventories older than the first millen- 
nium B.C. were unknown prior to the work of the Polar 
Expedition, the immense territory from the Khatanga 
River on the east to the Bolshezemelskaya tundra on 
the west remained terra incognita for archaeologists 
engaged in studies of the Palaeolithic and Bronze 
Ages. All suppositions about the incorporation of this 
territory into one or another ethnic or cultural prov- 
ince remained hypothetical from an archaeological 
point of view. The hypothesis about the existence of a 
prehistoric circumpolar culture, advanced by Gutorm 
Gjessing and supported by some archaeologists and 
ethnographers remained untested (Chernetsov 1 964; 
Gjessing 1944; Simchenko 1976). 

Questions about the ethnogenesis of the peoples 
of the Eurasian Far North cannot be solved without 
consideration of archaeological data because the 
written sources about peoples such as the Saami, 
Nenets, Enets, Nganasan, Dolgan, Even, Evenk, 
Yukagir, Chukchi, and Eskimo are limited to the 
recent past. Thus, the first records of Samoyedic- 
speaking peoples of the North are contained in 



Povest vremennikh let [the oldest Russian chronicle] 
in stories about campaigns against the Yugra and 
Samoyedic speakers that occurred in A.D. 1 095 and 
1114 (Andrianova 1950:167, 197). Before Russian 
expansion into Siberia, information about northern 
Siberian peoples usually had a fantastic character. 
The first detailed information about many Siberian 
peoples dates to this time. These materials were 
used by ethnohistorians Boris O. Dolgikh and ll'ia S. 
Gurvich in their work on the ethnic structure of the 
Siberian native population at Russian contact (Dolgikh 
1 960; Gun/ich 1 966). Therefore archaeological inves- 
tigations have a central role in elucidating the past 
of the northern peoples of Siberia. 

In 1966, I initiated the Polar Expedition, a long- 
term archaeological survey team at the Leningrad 
Branch of the Institute of Archaeology. The main 
purpose of the expedition was to study the early 
history of the peoples of the Siberian Far North from 
the earliest settlement to the formation of the ethnic 
nations living there now. The expedition explored 
the sites of different periods, since the territories 
under consideration (excepting the lower reaches 
of the Khatanga River) had never been subjected to 
archaeological exploration before. 

The expedition worked in areas settled by several 
Siberian native nations, including the Nenets, Enets, 
Nganasan, and Dolgan. The material culture of these 
modern northern peoples was derived from their 
ancestors, who originally developed the core fea- 
tures of arctic cultures. As Fritjof Nansen has noted 
(1969:9) "the original culture, conditioned by the 
nomadic way of life on the tundra, was created not 
in a day, not in a year, and not even in two or three 
centuries, but [rather] developed slowly over many 
centuries (if not millennia) and many generations." 

From the very beginning, the expedition's work 
combined archaeological and ethnographic investi- 
gations. Beginning in 1 969, the ethnographic group 
headed by Galina N. Gracheva, from the Institute of 
Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences, was an inte- 

gral part of the Polar Expedition's work. As a result, 
extensive ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological data 
was collected. Some of this material has been used in 
this book, while the remainder awaits publication. 

In 1 967, after working in the lower Ob River area, 
where I identified numerous occupation sites with 
stone assemblages dating from the second through 
first millennium B.C. (Khiobystin 1967), we began 
explorations in Taymyr. Over the course of nine field 
seasons (1 967-1 974, 1 981 ), the expedition system- 
atically explored the territory of the Taymyr Peninsula 
and adjacent areas. Taymyr is situated between two 
huge regions. East Siberia and West Siberia, where 
archaeological cultures of various origins served as 
sources for the formation of numerous native groups. 
In Taymyr one might hope to find both the bound- 
aries between these original cultures as well as a 
solution to the problem of the origins of circumpolar 
culture more generally. 

The entirety of the Taymyr (Dolgano-Nenets) 
Autonomous Area is situated north of the Arctic 
Circle. Its area, including the northern islands, 
encompasses 862,100 square kilometers. The 
Taymyr Peninsula occupies only the northern half 
of the autonomous area. The peninsula juts into the 
Arctic Ocean, ending at the northernmost point of 
Eurasia, Cape Chelyuskin. Along the shores of the 
Kara and Laptev Seas are the Coastal (Primorskaya) 
Plain and the Byrranga Mountains. The Yenisey River 
flows to the west. The eastern border of the peninsula 
is formed by Khatanga Bay (Fig. 5). The southern 
border parallels the northern boundary of the Middle 
Siberian Plateau, which in turn is formed by the low 
mountains of the Putorana and the Anabar Plateaus. 
Between this boundary and the Byrranga Mountains, 
the North Siberian Depression stretches like a cor- 
ridor joining the West Siberian Depression and the 
Yenisey River valley with northern Yakutia. 

Taymyr can be divided into four large river basins. 
Most of the western rivers flow into the mighty 
Yenisey. The Pyasina River basin is also situated to 



the west. The source of this river is connected to the 
so-called "Norilsk Lakes": Keto, Lama, Glubokoye, 
Pyasino, etc. The Pyasina flows northward and is fed 
by several large tributaries: the Dudypta, the Agapa, 
the Tareya, and the Pura rivers. Southeast Taymyr is 
occupied by the Kheta and Kotuy River basins, which 
join to form the Khatanga River. In northern Taymyr, 
along the southern edge of the Byrranga Mountains, 
is the Verkhnyaya Taymyra River and Lake Taymyr, 
the second largest freshwater lake in Siberia. The 
Nizhnyaya Taymyra River flows north from Lake 
Taymyr, cutting through the Byrranga Mountains. 

The natural conditions of Taymyr are severe. 
Climate is continental and winter lasts for eight or 
nine months. To the south, the polar night lasts fifty- 
two days and in the summer, the sun does not set for 
seventy-two days. The average annual temperature 
is about 1 2°C below zero (1 O F). 

Most of the North Siberian Depression is occupied 
by shrub tundra dotted with innumerable lakes. 
There are glaciers in the Byrranga Mountains, and the 
shore of the Arctic Ocean is primarily arctic tundra. 
Southern Taymyr is covered by taiga (forest-tundra); 
its northern border follows the Dudypta and Kheta 
rivers. To the north, on the Novaya River, is the 
world's northernmost stand of trees, situated in the 
Ary-Mas locality. The northern taiga zone begins in 
the Putorana Mountains. 

The flora and fauna of Taymyr are rich and pecu- 
liar. The main resources important for inhabitants 
of the region are walrus and seal in coastal waters, 
fish in rivers and lakes, and waterfowl in both areas 
during the summer. The most important mammal in 
Taymyr is the 'wild' reindeer (Rangifer tamndus), a 
Eurasian variant of the North American caribou, which 
numbered about 500,000 in the early 1 980s. Herds 
of reindeer migrate seasonally over the North Siberian 
Depression along their traditional routes. Wild rein- 
deer have been the primary subsistence resource for 
native peoples of Taymyr since time immemorial, 
and for this reason, the human population became 

concentrated here, while the valleys of the southern 
plateau were more sparsely populated; the Byrranga 
Mountains remained largely unpopulated. 

Nganasan, Enets, Nenets, Evenk, and Dolgan are 
considered the indigenous peoples of Taymyr. The 
ancestors of the Nganasan lived here for a long time. 
Their culture retained many features inherited from 
ancient reindeer hunters (Dolgikh 1952; Popov 1 936, 
1 948). Presently there are about 1 ,000 Nganasan in 
Taymyr. Enets are considered to be relatively recent 
arrivals, compared to the Nganasan, although by the 
time the Russians arrived, they already inhabited the 
lower reaches of the Yenisey River (Dolgikh 1 970b). 
The Enets, together with the Nenets and Nganasan, 
belong to the Samoyedic linguistic group. The Dolgan 
appeared in Taymyr in the seventeenth century and 
later became a distinct ethnic group. Their language 
is derived from the Turkic group, inherited from the 
Sakha/Yakut, who live farther east (Dolgikh 1 963). 

In his work devoted to the ethnogenesis of 
the Nganasan, Dolgikh used information from the 
Khatanga River sites discovered by Okladnikov 
(Dolgikh 1952:80). To some extent these materi- 
als confirmed his thoughts about the existence of 
genetic connections between the ancestors of the 
Nganasan and those of the Yukagir, who populated 
the northern portion of eastern Siberia. However, the 
scarcity of evidence did not provide sufficient support 
for his hypotheses and he had to restrict himself to 
citing Okladnikov's work [i.e., Okladnikov 1 947a]. 

In beginning the study of the ancient past of 
Taymyr we hoped that archaeological investigations 
would provide information about the ethnogenesis 
of the Nganasan people. In general the expedition 
set the following goals: to fill the immense "blank 
space" on the archaeological map of the Russian 
Arctic, roughly between 80' and 1 1 5° east longitude; 
to ascertain the date of the earliest settlement of 
Taymyr and to outline the stages of development 
of its ancient cultures; to determine their origins 
and characterize their relationships with cultures of 



adjacent areas; to describe the subsistence economy 
of Taymyr's ancient inhabitants and determine when 
reindeer breeding first appeared; and to collect 
materials related to ancient social organization. We 
also wanted to ascertain whether the ancient cul- 
tures of the arctic regions were really as culturally 
conservative as was supposed by many researchers. 
If they were, we wanted to identify the reasons for 
this conservatism. Finally, we wanted to determine 
how the Nganasan people were related to ethnic and 
cultural divisions of the past. In sum, we actually had 
one principal goal: to reconstruct the ancient history 
of Taymyr. 

Reaching this goal involved solving several prob- 
lems common to all investigations of the cultures of 
the Far North. The first was to identify the reasons 
for settlement in this far northern region— reasons 
that probably differed across time and space. The 

second problem was to determine particular regional 
relationships between ancient ethnic groups, their 
cultures and the area's environmental and climatic 
conditions: how did humans adapt to new ecological 
conditions and how were economy, demography, and 
social structure related in the past? 

For more than sixty years ethnographers and 
archaeologists have been stimulated by the problem 
of the origins of the so-called "circumpolar culture." 
There are several interpretations of this term, and 
researchers have generated various explanations 
for the similarity of many native cultures of the Far 
North. Was there ever a single uniform circumpolar 
culture? If so, when and how was it formed? These 
questions must also be answered. 

Beginning in 1967, when the expedition began 
to work in Taymyr, we systematically explored this 
northernmost part of the Eurasian continent (Fig. 5). 

5/ Map of the Taymyr Peninsula with areas surveyed by the Polar Expedition. 


During the first year, the expedition explored the 
Volochanka River valley, the lower reaches of the 
Tagenarka River, and the vicinity of the present-day 
Volochanka village, a settlement situated on the 
Kheta River. In addition, we traversed the Kheta from 
the Gorelaya River to Katyryk village (Khiobystin 
1 968). These projects were of a prospecting nature, 
and they led to the discovery of several prehistoric 
sites, such as Tagenar VI, Maimeche I, and Abylaakh 
I, which yielded important Mesolithic, Neolithic, and 
Early Bronze Age materials. In 1969, excavations 
were carried out at some of these sites as well as at 
the newly discovered Maimeche IV site (Khiobystin 
1969a). The third year of exploration (1969) was 
devoted to survey of the Avam and Dudypta riv- 
ers. Materials dating from the Neolithic to the late 
medieval period were found at twenty-one locations 
(Khiobystin and Gracheva 1 970). 

In 1970, the expedition planned to explore the 
banks of the Yenisey River mouth and the shore of 
Yenisey Bay (Khiobystin and Gracheva 1971). The 
most intensive prospecting work embraced part of 
the right bank of the Yenisey River from the Dudinka 
River mouth to the town of Levinskie Peski, from the 
Sukhaya Dudinka River mouth to the town of Ust-Port, 
from Kerepovsky to the Troitskiye Pesky settlements, 
as well as the settlements of Karaul and Vorontsovo, 
and the environs of Shaitansky Cape. On the left bank 
of the Yenisey River, our survey route followed the 
river terraces from the Levinskie Peski settlement 
to the village of Nosok. We also explored the lower 
reaches of some of the Yenisey River tributaries, 
including the Dudinka, the Sukhaya Dudinka, the 
Malaya Kheta, and its right tributary, the Podyakha 
River; the Bolshaya Kheta, the Gusikha, the Yara, 
and the Golchikha rivers. This work showed that the 
Yenisey River valley was sparsely populated in ancient 
times, though traces of a Neolithic/Early Bronze Age 
site were found at the Golchikha River mouth, and 
old burials were excavated on the Podyakha and 
Golchikha rivers. 

Beginning in 1971, work was moved to the 
Pyasina River. During the first season the river was 
explored from its origin at Lake Pyasino to the point 
where the Mokoritto River flows into the Pyasina. 
The areas adjacent to the mouths of the Agapa, 
Yangoda, Tareya, Lyungfada, and Mokoritto rivers 
were explored, as well as the banks of the Dudypta 
from the mouth of Avam to the confluence of the 
Dudypta and Pyasina rivers. We also surveyed the 
southern part of the shore of Purinskoe I Lake. More 
than thirty-nine sites dating from the Mesolithic to 
the medieval period were discovered and a number 
of sites were studied (Khiobystin and Gracheva 1 972). 
Most interesting was a stratified site at the mouth of 
the Polovinka River, which yielded the first evidence 
for the existence of bronze casting in the Pyasina 
River valley. 

In 1 972, the expedition carried out explorations 
in the Pyasina and Kheta River basins (Khiobystin 
and Gracheva 1 973). The survey began at the upper 
reaches of the Pyasina River and passed through the 
waterways linking western Taymyr with the eastern 
part of the region. We surveyed along the Pyasina 
River to its confluence with the Dudypta River and 
along the Dudypta and Avam to and including the 
portage to the Tagenarskiye Lakes. Here the expedi- 
tion boats were carried into the Kheta River basin and 
we then passed through the Tagenarka, Volochanka, 
Kheta, and Khatanga rivers to the town of Zhdanikha. 
During this field season numerous sites dating to 
different time periods were discovered and some 
excavations were carried out at a site located at the 
mouth of the Polovinka River and at Dyuna III, where 
the remains of a dwelling dating to the ninth or tenth 
century A.D. were examined. 

In 1 973, we continued excavation at Dyuna III and 
surveyed the area surrounding Melkoye, Glubokoye, 
Sobachiye, and Lama Lakes where several ancient sites 
were found (Khiobystin, Melent'ev, and Studzitskaia 
1974). The next year we continued archaeological 
and ethnoarchaeological work in eastern Taymyr 



(Khiobystin, Cracheva, and Studzitskaia 1 975) where 
we explored the northern half of Labaz and Khargy 
Lakes, the Kheta and the Khatanga rivers from the 
Novaya settlement to south of the Popigay, and the 
lower reaches of the Khatanga. Thirty-eight sites 
were identified and investigated. The supposed site 
of the winter camp of the Khariton Laptev Expedition 
of the early 1 700s was excavated— the remains of 
cabins were found downstream from the modern 
town of Novorybnoe— and Nganasan burials dating 
to the first half of the twentieth century were located 
in Ary-Mas. 

In 1 976 we continued work in the northern por- 
tion of western Siberia (Khiobystin 1 977), and in 1 977 
the expedition explored the lower reaches of the 
Kureika River and the northern part of Dyupkun Lake, 
both situated on the border between Taymyr and the 
Evenk Autonomous Area (Khiobystin 1 979a). 

Thus, the expedition explored the main rivers 
of the western and southeastern parts of Taymyr. 
More than two hundred archaeological sites from the 
Mesolithic through the medieval period were discov- 
ered. A number of ceremonial sites were studied, and 
several old interments were excavated, among them 
the ritual burial of an anthropomorphic figurine. 

Thanks to the work of the Polar Expedition, 
Taymyr became one of the most fully studied regions 
of northern Siberia. Based on artifact typologies, 
stratigraphic data, and a series of absolute dates, 
we developed a cultural sequence for the region 
that may have great significance for constructing 
a more precise history of cultural developments in 
adjacent areas. 

Unfortunately, the expedition was unable to 
conduct work in the Taymyr Lake area and on the 
coast of the Arctic Ocean because these areas could 
be explored only with the use of a helicopter. If a 
culture of maritime hunters, yet unknown, existed on 
the Taymyr coast of the Arctic Ocean, then the sites 
of the unstudied Taymyr Lake area would probably 
belong to cultures already identified in the Pyasina, 

Kheta, and Khatanga River basins. Migrating groups 
would have to pass through these basins and leave 
evidence of their presence in order to get to Taymyr 
Lake. Reindeer hunting forced the inhabitants of 
Taymyr to roam from place to place, following 
migration routes and spending winter seasons in the 
southern forest regions; in spring they traveled far 
to the north to the Byrranga Mountains and in the 
fall they returned to the forests near the spurs of the 
Putorana Mountains. 

Taymyr still hides evidence of its ancient inhabit- 
ants, but the materials obtained by our surveys make 
it possible to answer many questions. This evidence 
enables us to characterize settlement patterning in 
the region; to understand the peculiarities of cultural 
development; and to reconstruct general aspects of 
Taymyr prehistory. In this monograph I shall try to 
answer these questions by presenting the results of 
the Polar Expedition and drawing on comparative 
material from other territories of northern Eurasia, 
since historic events taking place in the north of 
Central Siberia can be understood only with respect 
to the general background of historical and cultural 
processes connected with the settlement of northern 
Eurasia more generally. 

The limited scope of this book does not permit 
discussion of all materials obtained by the Polar 
Expedition. I present only the most informative sites, 
those containing stratified or intact single component 
assemblages, in order to characterize the stages of 
cultural development on Taymyr. Finds from other 
sites are used to illustrate or complement the main 

This book is presented from a scientific perspec- 
tive, especially with respect to sciences that overlap 
with archaeology. Paleogeography and ethnogra- 
phy, disciplines that allow us to better understand 
the meaning of archaeological finds, are also 

I would like to thank several colleagues who 
worked on the materials recovered by our sur- 



veys: Galina M. Levkovskaia, who carried out the 
palynological analysis from Tagenar VI and the Ust- 
Polovinka settlement; N. B. Selivanova, who did the 
petrographic analysis of stone raw materials used in 
northern Yakutia and on Taymyr; and E. S. lodova, 
who analyzed the resin samples from Ust-Polovinka. 
A great contribution was made by the researchers of 
the Radiocarbon Laboratory of the Leningrad Branch 
of the Institute of Archaeology (LBIA): R. K. Romanova, 
lu. S. Svezhentsev, V. M. Molebnikov. Thanks to their 
work we now have a series of absolute dates for many 
prehistoric sites on Taymyr. The spectral analysis of 
bronze objects was carried out on the initiative of a 
prominent researcher on Taymyr mineral resources, 
Nikolai N. Urvantsev from the Institute of Arctic 
Geology. A series of such analyses was made by D. V. 
Naumov at the Spectral Laboratory of the LBIA, and 
by O. A. Diuzhikov, V. A. Fedorenko, and V. V. Distler 
at the Institute for Geomagnetic Studies of the USSR 

Academy of Sciences. Osteological materials were 
identified by the late Nina M. Ermolova (LBIA). 

The archaeological materials forming the foun- 
dation of this work would not have become known 
except for the enthusiastic, often selfless labor of 
many of my fellow workers who took part in the expe- 
dition. I am very grateful to V. B. and Z. B. Altman, 
Galina N. Gracheva, G. V. Ivanov, V. E. Kalenov; A. N. 
Melent'ev, S. V. Studzitskaia, A. A. Todorova, A. A. 
Todorov, and others. 

Considerable assistance was rendered to the 
expedition by the government bodies of the Taymyr 
and Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Areas; by the employ- 
ees of the Taymyr Regional Museum in the city of 
Dudinka and the Yamal-Nenets Regional Museum in 
Salekhard. I cannot enumerate here all those people 
who helped us over these many years, but I am nev- 
ertheless pleased to express my gratitude for their 
many contributions. 



6/ Archaeological field camp of the Russian-German expedition at Levinson-Lessing Lake, Central Taymyr, 
Byrranga Mountains, 1996. Photographer Vladimir Pitulko. 

(^Iimate, Environment^ and the Initial 


on of the L 

urasian /\rct\c 

Palaeolithic Occupation of Polar Regions 

Major climatic fluctuations in tine Pleistocene enabled 
the Palaeolithic inhabitants of periglacial zones and 
northern sea coasts to penetrate the North during 
interstadial periods. The discovery in the Pechora 
subarctic region of a number of Upper Palaeolithic 
sites (Kanivets 1 976) suggests that ancient hunters 
moved northward, crossed the Arctic Circle, and 
established settlements in arctic regions. However, 
subsequent deterioration of the climate forced these 
hunters to leave the circumpolar regions. Therefore, 
it would be unjustified, at least at this stage in our 
knowledge, to assert that the population of the 
European Arctic developed directly from its original 
Palaeolithic inhabitants. 

Some of the Siberian subpolar regions, even dur- 
ing the maximum phase of the Sartan glaciation, 
remained free of ice. Such regions include North 
Yakutia as well as the coastal areas of Chukotka 
and West Siberia. Characteristic of periglacial eco- 
systems, animal and plant life persisted in various 
manifestations, occupying newly ice-free areas during 
the interstadials. Under such ecological conditions 
human communities could exist in Northern Yakutia 
and in the Far Northeast. However, no traces of such 
communities have been discovered to date, and the 
Palaeolithic sites of the Kolyma and the Indigirka riv- 
ers date to the later phase of the Sartan glaciation; 
the Kokorevo and Taymyr interstadials parallel the 
Boiling and Allerod warm periods. 

The Allerod was a time of incipient forest develop- 
ment in Northern Europe, when the forest bordered 
the present timber line. Tree vegetation penetrated 
along river valleys into the tundra zone, as known 
in West Siberia (Levkovskaia 1971, 1977). What is 
now the tundra was a country of open tundra mixed 
with bushes along the rivers and steppe plants on 
watershed divides. The average yearly temperature 
was probably similar to that of the present. 

Due to the expansion of the forest and a sharp 
increase in annual snowfall in the south, herds of 
mammoths retreated north to the forest-free regions 
with less snow, reaching as far as the New Siberian 
Islands. Following in their wake. Palaeolithic hunt- 
ers penetrated the Arctic. This migration may have 
started before the Kokorevo interstadial (13,000- 
1 2,200 B.P.), corresponding to the Boiling in western 
Europe [but see Pituiko et al. 2004 —Ed.]. 

Berelekh, a dwelling site of mammoth hunters 
[which until the recent Yana site discovery was the 
world's northernmost Palaeolithic settlement] was 
located on the Berelekh River, the Indigirka's western 
tributary, at about 71° N, was excavated in the 1 970s 
(Mochanov 1 977; Vereschagin and Mochanov 1 972). 
On the basis of the tools found, lurii A. Mochanov 
dates the site to the final phase of the Dyuktai 
culture. Also from the Berelekh River is a stray find 
recovered in 1 965: a mammoth tusk with a gigantic 
Palaeolithic animal engraved on it (Bader 1 975). The 

1 1 

find suggests that inhabitants of the Berelekh site 
actually observed mammoths and did not just use 
mammoth bones from the "mammoth cemetery" 
on which the dwelling site is located. However, it is 
possible that the Berelekh inhabitants were familiar 
with dead, frozen mammoths (Gromov 1972) and 
could have used mammoth flesh for food, as the 
inhabitants of the Shikaevsk Palaeolithic site probably 
did (Petrin and Smirnov 1975:83). The date of the 
Berelekh occupation layer is 12,930 ± 80 B.P. (GIN 
1021) and 1 3,420 ± 200 B.P. (cal. IM 1 52); a mam- 
moth tusk from the "cemetery" is dated to 1 2,240 ± 
1 60 B.P. (LU 1 49). Thus, the site existed during the 
Kokorevo interstadial. 

Farther east, on the Kolyma and in Chukotka, no 
reliably dated Palaeolithic sites have thus far been 
discovered. Material from the Maiorych location 
(Mochanov 1977:90-92) is scanty, and the artifact 
defined as a wedge core more closely resembles a uti- 
lized scraper. As for recent reports about Palaeolithic 
artifacts from Chukotka (Dikov 1 979:1 30), interpre- 
tation should wait until more detailed material has 
been published [Dikov published a full report on 
his Chukotka work in 1 993; the English translation 
appeared in 1997.— fc/.] 

Systematic geological investigations of the Lower 
Yenisey and the adjacent territories of the Taymyr and 
Gydan Peninsulas have provided a considerable body 
of data on the geological changes and evolution of 
the climate and environment in the Late Pleistocene 
and Holocene, making it possible to regard those 
territories as the local reference region (Kind 1974: 
8). Based primarily upon N.V. Kind's investigation 
(1974), the environmental and climatic events on 
the Taymyr Peninsula in the Late Pleistocene may be 
briefly outlined as follows: 

At the time of the Sartan glacial maximum (the 
Gydan stage) ca. 20,000 B. P., the Taymyr Peninsula 
was under an ice sheet. In the period preceding the 
Taymyr interstadial (Allerod), concurrent with glacial 
melting, there was a transgression of Arctic Ocean 
waters onto newly ice-free lowlands, probably caused 

both by the general rise of the ocean level and local 
isostatic adjustment following the melting of glacial 
ice. Terminal moraine formations (e.g., the Nyapan 
ridge), dammed Lake Noril'skoe and inundated Lakes 
Pyasino, Melkoe, Lama, and Glubokoe. The existence 
of the proglacial basin was dated by S. L. Troitsky to 
14,000-12,000 B.P. The sediments of that basin are 
seen in the banded clays of the 50 meter terraces of 
the Pyasina and the Agapa. 

According to Andreeva and Kind (1 980), the latest 
intrusion of the Polar Basin waters into the Taymyr 
Peninsula lowland dates to Karginsk times (50,000- 
24,000 B.P.). No traces of a younger intrusion have 
been discovered because of the minor scale of the 
Sartan glaciation. 

Due to climatic amelioration about 12,000 B.P., 
conditions even in the central part of the Byrranga 
Mountains were suitable for mammoths. As is the 
case today, tundra communities were located there 
(Tikhomirov 1950). The dates of the mammoth 
remains found on the Mamontovaya River, a western 
tributary of the Lower Taymyr River, at 1 1 ,700 ±300 
(MO 3) and 1 1,450 ± 250 (T 297), as well as their 
burial in sediments of floodplain Terrace II, suggest 
that mammoths were already extinct at the end of the 
Taymyr interstadial (Kind 1 974:59). The final phase 
of the Sartan glaciation, known as the Norilsk stage, 
lasted eight hundred years and was over soon after 
1 0,500 B.P. This period was distinguished by abrupt 
climatic deterioration and relative aridity. At the end 
of the phase. Lake Melkoe was surrounded by marshy 
tundra indicative of a severe climate. 

Thus, the period of the last Sartan interstadial 
was the most favorable period for life on the Taymyr 
Peninsula. Did mammoth hunters succeed in pen- 
etrating the Taymyr Peninsula within that span of 
time? No indisputable proof can be offered at pres- 
ent; however, a tool found on the Taymyr Peninsula 
resembles some Palaeolithic artifacts of Siberia. It 
was found lying on the wind-eroded upper surface 
of floodplain Terrace II on the western bank of the 
Pyasina and its tributary, the Polovinka River. Here, 



at the point of confluence on floodplain Terrace I, 
a stratified settlement with evidence of Neolithic 
occupation was discovered dating to the third millen- 
nium B.C., as well as Iron Age dwelling sites dating 
to between the sixth century B.C. and the eleventh 
century A.D. 

The tool is a chopper-like sub-rectangular object 
made from a flat gray-green chert pebble (Fig. 7). 
One edge of the pebble was heavily flaked from one 
of the wide flat sides, forming a straight oblique 
edge trimmed by fine retouch (the edge angle is 76 
degrees). The dimensions of the tool are as follows: 
distance from the remaining pebble edge to the 
working edge: 5.6 to 6.9 cm; width: 9.1 cm; thick- 
ness: 3.3 cm. Two opposite corners of the butt show 
traces of battering, indicating that the tool was also 
used as a fabricator. According to Zoia A. Abramova's 
classification of pebble tools, the find belongs to the 
choppertype B3 (Abramova 1 972a:l 33). Such imple- 
ments are characteristic of Afontovo and Kokorevo 
cultures of the Yenisey Palaeolithic. 

Choppers, amply represented in the Upper 
Palaeolithic complexes of East Siberia, have been 
found at the dwelling sites of Krasny Yar and 
Verkholenskaya Cora (Layer III) on the Angara, 
Makarovo II on the Upper Lena, in Dyuktaiskaya Cave 
in the Aldan Basin, at the Oshurkovo settlement in 
the Trans-Baikal Region, and at some other Upper 
Palaeolithic sites of East Siberia. They are charac- 
terized by thorough secondary retouching of the 
working edge, which distinguishes them from earlier 
choppers. Choppers are also encountered at some 
Mesolithic sites in East Siberia. On the Yenisey, chop- 
pers similar to the one from the Pyasina bank were 
discovered only in Layer B of the Biryusa site, which 
dates, presumably, to the Pleistocene. Examples of 
chopper-like tools were recovered from the Badai 
Early Mesolithic site complexes of Ust-Belaya and 
Sosnovy Bor on the Upper Angara. Referring to these 
implements, G. I. Medvedev wrote: "The chopper . . . 
did not outlast the Palaeolithic. . . . What we call a 
"chopper" in the Mesolithic represents attenuation 

in the evolution of the "classical form" (Medvedev 
1971:108, tables 27 and 46). However, some arti- 
facts from the above-mentioned sites correspond 
to the types of choppers found in the cultural layers 
of Palaeolithic sites located at the headwaters of the 
Yenisey River. 

Mochanov points out that there is a small number 
of choppers among the artifacts of the Sumnagin 
tradition, which he dates to the Late Palaeolithic 
(Mochanov 1 973b) but which, on the basis of dates 
(10,800 ± 200 to 6,200 ± 100 B.P.) and the lithic 
assemblage, is typically Mesolithic. In respect to 
the Sumnagin chopper-like pebble tool forms, 
Medvedev's opinion seems to be justified given that 
published specimens of such tools include no chop- 
pers typical of the Yenisey and Angara Palaeolithic. 
Consequently, there are no analogues among them 
to the Pyasina chopper. 

Finally, mention should be made of the interest- 
ing choppers found on the Kolyma River. Here, at 
the Siberdik site, in Layer III, choppers were lying 
together with bifacial tools. In the portion of the site 

7/ A chopper-like tool from Ust-Polovinka on the 
western bank of the Pyasina River. 



dated to 6,300 ± 1 70 B.P. (Kril 248) there was a frag- 
ment of pottery associated with the choppers (Dikov 

I 977:21 5-221 ). Thus, the period the choppers were 
in use extends at least into the fourth millennium B.C. 
There are reports of choppers found in combination 
with blades in the lower layer and together with leaf- 
shaped arrowheads in Layer II of a site in the Congo 
estuary dated to 9470 ± 530 B.P. (Kril 3 1 4) and 865 5 
± 220 B.P. (MAG 1 96), respectively (Dikov 1 977:222; 

Based upon the finds of pebble tools listed above, 
the Taymyr Peninsula chopper may date to between 
13,000 and 6000 B.P., a wide interval. A period of 
climatic deterioration known as the Norilsk stage 
[often called the Younger Dryas, 1 2,000-1 3,000 B.P. 
—Ed.] of the Sartan glaciation occurred within this 
span of time and lasted almost a millennium, during 
which the Taymyr mountains were covered by glaciers 
and the last mammoths died out [cf. Vartanyan et al. 
(1993) -Ed.] 

It is not plausible that the Taymyr Peninsula was 
colonized at a time of such extreme conditions. As 
indicated by marine transgression evidence. Terrace 

II of the Pyasina River had not yet formed by the 
time of the Kokorevo interstadial. The formation of 
the two post-Karginsk floodplain terraces took place 
after the transgression and were associated with the 
landrise in late and postglacial times (Kind 1 974:39). 
Therefore, the chopper found on Terrace II could have 
belonged to migrants that appeared in the Arctic 
either during the Taymyr interstadial or in the early 
postglacial period. The Yenisey Valley was the prob- 
able route of entry, suggesting that pebble tools may 
be found on the east side of the Evenk River. 

There is no reason to associate the Pyasina chop- 
per with the Sumnagin tradition. Thus, most likely 
the artifact is a trace of the first occupation of the 
Taymyr subpolar region during the Taymyr intersta- 
dial. One stray find does not provide a solid basis 
for such an inference; yet consideration should be 
given to this possibility. With respect to that particu- 
lar find, chopper-like tools may also have been used 

during the Iron Age, in the first millennium A.D., as 
discussed in Chapter Four. 

What was the fate of the Palaeolithic inhabitants 
of Siberian Arctic regions during the final stage 
of the Sartan glaciation? Did they leave for the 
American continent, or retreat southwards, merging 
with Mesolithic populations; or did they continue 
living somewhere in Far Northeastern Siberia until 
new migrants arrived? These questions have yet 
to be solved for each region. However, one can 
make a strong argument that the Palaeolithic of the 
Siberian Arctic came to an end with the demise of 
the mammoth fauna [see Vartanyan et al. 1993 for 
new evidence on the survival of mammoths until the 
mid-Holocene —Ed.]. 

The drastic climate changes that occurred at the 
end of the Pleistocene resulted in the expansion of 
forests (driving mammoths into the subpolar ter- 
ritories) and the development of a modern tundra 
complex during the Norilsk stage of the Sartan, which 
completely supplanted the forest-tundra-steppe veg- 
etation. As a consequence, the biotic communities 
that had supported mammoths were disrupted. In 
the opinion of Konstantin K. Flerov, the dominance 
of sphagnum-type vegetation left large herbivorous 
Pleistocene mammals without their principal forage 
(1965:127). Nikolai K. Vereschagin (1 979) attributes 
their extinction to the climatic change at the close of 
the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene. 
During the Norilsk stage, the ecological niches 
suited to mammoth habitation were reduced to a 
minimum, and Palaeolithic humans, whose lifeways 
and existence depended upon increasingly-scarce 
mammoths, expedited their demise. 

A dramatic cultural change need not always result 
from the disappearance of a preceding ethnic group. 
The survival of an ethnic group, however, may be 
inferred from archaeological material only when some 
continuity is evident between their respective cultures. 
Thus far no such phenomenon has been recorded in 
North Siberia, with the possible exception of the "relic 
Palaeolithic" dwelling sites on the Kolyma River (Dikov 



1 979:90- 1 00); however, the presence there of pebble 
tools is likely due to the technology required by the 
use of coarse crystalline raw material. 

The Arctic Climate during the 
Early and Middle Holocene 

In the Old World permanent habitation of the subpo- 
lar regions began in the Mesolithic. The appearance 
of humans is almost simultaneous throughout the 
great arctic expanses of Eurasia and is associated 
with the climatic amelioration that began in the 
Early Holocene and persisted into the Boreal period 
(8,000-6,000 B.P.). 

Despite some fluctuations, environmental condi- 
tions in the subpolar regions throughout the Early 
Holocene displayed a constant trend toward ame- 
lioration. Even in Pre-Boreal times the climate had 
improved to such an extent that there was tree and 
shrub vegetation in the southern parts of the present 
tundra. On the Karginsky Promontory of the Taymyr 
Peninsula (the lower Yenisey, at about 70 degrees 
north latitude) a beaver dam has been discovered 
containing alder branches dating to 9540 ± 50 B.P. 
(GIN 260; Firsov et al. 1 974:1 23). Beaver dams built 
at about that time in northwest Alaska (McCulloch 
and Hopkins 1 966: 1 095-1 098) contained branches 
of poplar, alder, willow, tree-like birch, and spruce. 
According to Vasari's data for northern Finland, the 
Pre-Boreal climate was continental and arid, and 
the Boreal period was marked by higher humidity 
(Vasari 1962). 

In the Boreal period the flora became more diverse 
and plant distributions shifted northward. The tundra 
of North Siberia was characterized by the "birch- 
tree" spore-pollen diagram spectrum. The southern 
tundra was a spruce, birch, and alder habitat, while 
the forest-tundra zone was dominated by spruce, 
pine, fir, and cedar (Levkovskaia 1971, 1977). The 
remains of alder and birch discovered by Lavrushin 
in the lower reaches of the Indigirka River date to 
7,820 ± 210 (MO 233) and 7,850 ± 250 B.P. (MO 
234) (Ivanova 1963). 

The Holocene Climatic Optimum occurred in the 
Atlantic Period (6,000-3,000 B.P.); mean annual tem- 
peratures were considerably higher than at present, 
and ice cover ceased to exist throughout the Polar 
Basin (Borisov 1968). In the Atlantic Period the veg- 
etation zone borders shifted northward between 300 
and 450 kilometers (Tikhomirov 1962). There was 
presumably no tundra zone on the Kola Peninsula, 
and in northern Scandinavia tundra survived only in 
the mountainous regions. When the forest cover of 
the Bol'shaya Zemlya tundra was at its maximum, 
tree vegetation reached the sea coast (Chernov 
1 947:75) [More recent climate and vegetation stud- 
ies have altered this view substantially (MacDonald 
et al. 2000; Makeyev et al. 2003), documenting a 
Climatic Optimum with tree and shrub vegetation 
zones reaching northern limits as early as 8000 to 
9000 B.P. in the Taymyr-Laptev regions. —Ed.] 

In West Siberia the boundary between the tundra 
and forest-tundra crossed the Yamal Peninsula at 
about 68 degrees north latitude, while in East Taymyr 
the tree-line was located at about 72 degrees north 
latitude. The mixed tundra-parkland vegetation 
included spruce, larch, tree-like willow and birch 
supplemented by pine and fir in the southern parts of 
the tundra zone (Levkovskaia 1 976). Pollen analysis 
and wood macrofossils show that the forest-tundra 
in East Siberia reached the coast of the Polar Basin 
(Khotinskii et al. 1971). 

One of the first to note the marked northward 
expansion of forest vegetation on the Taymyr 
Peninsula was the famous arctic traveler and geog- 
rapher Adolf E. Nordenskiold during his expedition 
along the Yenisey River in 1875. Finding "in the most 
recent deposits of the Yenisey tundra ... far north 
of the present forest border, thick stumps of large 
trees," the explorer concluded that "in the past the 
timber line on the Yenisey passed much farther north 
than now" (Nordenskiold 1 881 :370). 

Remains of tree vegetation in the form of 
stumps are often encountered in the Taymyr tundra. 
Members of the Polar Expedition saw a large number 



of tree stumps on the northern shore of Labaz Lake 
between 72 and 73 degrees north latitude, where 
at present shrubs survive only in creek valleys. A 
large stump dating to 5180 ± 150 B.P. (IM COAN 
28) has been found on the Zakharova Rossokha 
stream in the Novaya River basin. At that time the 
territory was covered by a broken birch forest with 
spruce-alder strips and alder groves. The bogs were 
fewer and less developed than at present (Kul'tina 
et al. 1974). However, tree vegetation during the 
Atlantic period extended farther north. Macrofossils 
of larch have been found at 76 degrees north lati- 
tude (Zubkov 1948). According to some evidence, 
there once was tree vegetation on Cape Chelyuskin, 
the northernmost point of Taymyr. Forest-tundra 
extended to the northeast of the Taymyr Peninsula 
along the Pronchischev coast, which is now an 
arctic tundra subzone. According to palynological 
evidence, the base of floodplain Terrace I formed in 
the Middle Holocene is characterized by a pine zone 
(Berdovskaia et al. 1 968). 

Material accumulated as a result of investigating 
the peat bog on Karginsky Promontory, including a 
number of radiocarbon dates, indicates that in the 
period between 6400 and 3100 B.C. [uncalibrated], 
birch associations dominated the western part of the 
Taymyr Peninsula (Firsov et al. 1974). Palynological 
data for the central part of the peninsula were 
obtained by Levkovskaia on the basis of specimens 
from a stratigraphic column at the Mesolithic site of 
Tagenar VI (Levkovskaia et al. 1 972). In the Atlantic 
period, at the time when the inhabitants of Tagenar 
VI made a fire, about 6020 ± 100 B.P. (LE 884), the 
conditions that prevailed were those of a northern 
tundra subzone dominated by both tree and shrub 
species of birch and alder. Considerably smaller areas 
were occupied by coniferous trees, such as larch, 
spruce, and pine. 

Thus, in the Middle Holocene the forest vegetation 
on the Taymyr Peninsula was the northernmost in 
the world. This distinctive feature, resulting from the 
region's continental climate, has survived into mod- 

ern times, with Taymyr, at 73 degrees north latitude, 
having the world's northernmost "island" of forest 
cover— the Ary-Mas woods on the Novaya River. 

On the whole, the Atlantic period throughout 
the Eurasian North had temperatures two to four 
degrees above the present values, as well as higher 
humidity (Kats and Kats 1 946), the latter contributing 
to the expansion of floodplains and promoting the 
development of extensive marshes and bogs. There 
was also a more active process of peat formation, 
one manifestation of which is the peat bog on Cape 
Karginsky; peat formation reached maximum levels 
during Atlantic and early Sub-Boreal times. 

The shifting of vegetation zones and the corre- 
sponding northward advance of fauna were primary 
factors in the penetration of human groups into sub- 
polar regions formerly associated with northern taiga 
and forest-tundra. Another factor responsible for 
settlement in the Far North was population growth, 
which forced humans to colonize new territories. 
The impact of these factors varied both spatially 
and temporally. Whereas the initial occupation of 
the subpolar regions was dominated by ecology, 
the subsequent stages of colonization were largely 
determined by demography. 

Thus, changes in ecological conditions in post- 
glacial times brought about the movement of 
hunter-gatherers who were completely dependent 
upon these resources, and such groups began to 
locate their settlements in higher latitudes. During 
the Climatic Optimum nearly all parts of the Arctic 
were colonized, with the probable exception of 
the Polar Basin islands and the territories not suit- 
able for occupation by Mesolithic hunters, such as 
waterlogged areas of West Siberia and mountain- 
ous regions. 

The subsequent climatic deterioration was not 
severe enough to cause hyperborean hunters to com- 
pletely abandon these territories, and post-Neolithic 
cultural developments enabled them to surpass their 
predecessors in adapting to the new environmental 



Consequently, the descendants of those who 
arrived in the polar regions in Boreal and Atlantic 
times, the North Eurasian Mesolithic, may be consid- 
ered the aboriginal population of the Arctic. 

In the subsequent colonization of the circumpolar 
zone, the original population contributed signifi- 
cantly to the cultural development and ethnogenesis 
of later inhabitants of the region, and eventually to 
the present indigenous people of Taymyr. In order 
to evaluate the hypothesis about the existence of a 
single circumpolar culture [as proposed, for instance, 
by Bogoras 1929 —Ed.], it is necessary to survey 
archaeological sites of the Eurasian circumpolar 
zone dating to the Mesolithic, while at the same time 
acknowledging that according to this hypothesis, eth- 
nogenesis occurred and subpolar culture originated 
in the Urals during Neolithic times. 

On the Concepts of 
"Mesolithic" and "Neolithic" 

Before discussing the archaeological evidence, 
we must examine the terms "Mesolithic," "Epi- 
Palaeolithic," "Neolithic," and the derivatives "Sub- 
Neolithic," "Survival Neolithic" and "Pre-ceramic 
Neolithic." I shall leave aside the history of these 
terms, their meaning and appropriate use since this 
would require a comprehensive study in archaeologi- 
cal historiography. 

I shall concern myself only with the concrete use 
of the terms in studying Stone Age sites of Siberia. 
I am prompted to do so by the assertion made by 
Mochanov that the Sumnagin culture of northern 
Europe is a Palaeolithic or, to be more precise, "Late 
Palaeolithic" tradition, or, alternatively, is a tradition 
of the "Holocene Palaeolithic." [The sole exception is 
Mochanov's paper "The Early Neolithic of the Aldan" 
(1966), in which the author, as he later admitted, 
"rashly" used the terms "Pre-ceramic Neolithic" and 

Rogachev(l 962, 1 966) rejects the commonly used 
term "Mesolithic" and advocates the use of "Palaeo- 
lithic" until the emergence of Neolithic cultures. Let 

us consider the theoretical basis of Rogachev's view 
since Mochanov proceeds from Rogachev's concepts 
without presenting his own arguments, other than 
stating that the Pre-Neolithic "constitutes a single 
whole with the Palaeolithic" (Mochanov 1969:138). 
Recall that Mochanov denies a connection between 
the Dyuktai and Sumnagin cultures, which renders 
his statement altogether illogical. I shall not consider 
Rogachev's argument that since the term "Mesolithic" 
was not used or was used in a different sense by 
Russian and Soviet archaeologists until the 1950s, 
we, too, should follow their example. 

Rogachev's fundamental premise is that the basic 
features of cultures referred to as "Mesolithic" origi- 
nated in the Upper Palaeolithic. His second premise 
concerns the difficulties involved in distinguishing 
the Upper Palaeolithic from the Epi-Palaeolithic. No 
distinct dividing line can be drawn on the basis of 
lithic typologies between the Late Pleistocene cultures 
of East Siberia and those of the Early Holocene that 
followed. Continuity in the evolution of Palaeolithic 
and Mesolithic cultures is particularly evident with 
respect to the traditions of the Middle Yenisey and 
the Angara basins. Continuity is also apparent in 
the Trans-Baikal territory, where the blade technique 
originated as early as the Palaeolithic, whereas the 
Palaeolithic tradition of using pebble tools persisted 
into the Holocene. Aleksei P. Okladnikov is correct 
to stress the progressive evolutionary character and 
uninterrupted continuity of the autochthonous devel- 
opment of Siberian cultures in the Late Pleistocene 
and Early Holocene (Okladnikov 1966a, 1968). 

Definition of a clear-cut Palaeolithic-Mesolithic 
boundary is also complicated by the chronological 
variation in economic strategies in different parts 
of Siberia due to different ecological conditions and 
lithic resources. Nina M. Ermolova's research has 
provided fresh insight into this problem (Ermolova 
1 966, 1 972). Such evidence justifies the use of the 
term "Epi-Palaeolithic" as applied to some early 
Holocene cultures of Siberia, especially to those 
retaining pebble tools. I have applied this term to 



sites in the Lake Baikal region (Khiobystin 1964a, 
b, 1 965). The concept "Epi-Palaeolithic" has a more 
restricted scope than "Mesolithic" and as such should 
be applied to sites of Holocene age immediately 
succeeding those of the Upper Palaeolithic and 
preserving features of the preceding Palaeolithic 
culture. It would be erroneous, therefore, to extend 
the use of the term "Epi-Palaeolithic" to cultures of 
Pre-Neolithic times. 

The cultures that succeeded the Upper Palaeolithic 
traditions followed fundamentally new historical 
paths. The descendants of the Upper Palaeolithic gen- 
erations that witnessed the great ecological changes 
associated with the onset of the Holocene had at 
their disposal the achievements of their Palaeolithic 
forebears in technology, procurement strategies, 
and social relations. They could not, however, fully 
preserve the culture they inherited; it had to be trans- 
formed in a multitude of ways since the environment 
was changing. 

Cultures of the Late Mesolithic differ radically 
from those of the Palaeolithic, both in industry and 
in socio-economic organization. Sometimes, as in 
the case of the Early Neolithic of Taymyr, Mesolithic 
cultures differ from those of the Neolithic only in one 
trait: they lack pottery. For this reason such cultures 
can be referred to as "Pre-ceramic Neolithic," a term I 
used for denoting sites of the Khin'sk, the final stage 
of the Mesolithic in the Lake Baikal region (Khiobystin 
1 965). The term "Pre-ceramic Neolithic" is analogous 
to the terms "Proto-Neolithic" and "Pre-Neolithic." 
Because a common view is that "there is no real 
Neolithic without pottery" (Ravdonikas 1 947: 1 44), the 
term "Pre-ceramic" is needed. "Pre-ceramic Neolithic" 
has a more restricted meaning than "Mesolithic." 
Thus, if the "Epi-Palaeolithic" sometimes corresponds 
to "Early Mesolithic," then the "Pre-ceramic Neolithic" 
represents the final stage of the Mesolithic. 

The presence of pottery in "Stone Age" cultures 
is an indication to reclassify them as "Neolithic." 
However, pottery is often merely a formal indicator, 
since for some societies the appearance of pottery 

was not associated with fundamental changes in the 
way of life. 

Had the opponents of the term "Mesolithic" been 
consistent and logical throughout, they would have 
had to assign to their "Late Palaeolithic" category 
the Early Neolithic cultures of the Taymyr Peninsula, 
Yakutia, and many other territories, for the princi- 
pal components of those cultures originated in the 
Mesolithic, just as many features of the Mesolithic 
are evident in the Upper Palaeolithic. Whereas 
by convention the end date of the Mesolithic is 
defined by archaeologists, its beginning is marked 
by climatic change at the Pleistocene-Holocene 
transition. That transition separated the Palaeolithic 
from a new epoch characterized by the search 
for new modes of existence, an epoch crucial for 
human cultural change— the Mesolithic. According 
to archaeological evidence, during the Mesolithic, 
before the appearance of indicators that guide 
archaeologists in distinguishing the Neolithic, new 
forms of economy— agriculture and cattle breed- 
ing—originated in the Near East, Hindustan, and 
the Balkans. During the Mesolithic, specialization in 
subsistence activities was beginning among groups 
of hunters, gatherers, and fishers. In all cases sub- 
sistence needs determined the development of those 
forms of Palaeolithic tools that conformed to the 
new requirements, as well as the invention of new 
implements and utensils. 

Criticism of those who object to distinguish- 
ing the Mesolithic is substantiated by Formozov, 
who opposes the views of Rogachev and Mochanov 
(Formozov 1 970). Thus, the conventionally adopted 
lower boundary of the Mesolithic^the epoch suc- 
ceeding the Palaeolithic and distinguished by the 
wide distribution of cultures characterized by 
prismatic blades and tools made from them— is 
the geological boundary between the Pleistocene 
and Holocene. This approach is tenable wherever 
Upper Palaeolithic cultures were not supplanted by 
immigrant Mesolithic traditions but rather display 
cultural continuity. This has been demonstrated by 



Kol'tsov with respect to the cultures of the Southern 
and Eastern Baltic. 

There are two fundamentally different points of 
view on the concept of "Neolithic." Some investiga- 
tors, following the example of Lubbock, who intro- 
duced the term in 1 863 (Lubbock 1 876), regard the 
Neolithic as a stage in the archaeological periodiza- 
tion of material culture that preceded the incipient 
use of metal tools and was marked by the appear- 
ance of pottery and a mature lithic technology. Other 
researchers, confusing archaeological periodization 
with the cultural evolutionary schemes developed by 
Morgan and Engels, associate the Neolithic with the 
appearance of a new subsistence strategy— cattle 
breeding and agriculture actually equating the 
Neolithic with the middle stage of barbarism. The 
spread of this view of the Neolithic was largely due to 
V. Cordon Childe, whose term "Neolithic revolution" 
stressed the progressive significance of the transi- 
tion from the period of appropriating the products 
of the land to that of their incipient reproduction 
as articles of consumption, subsistence products 
in particular (Childe 1 949:33, 34, 66). At the same 
time, Childe pointed out that the most appropriate 
strategy for the archaeologist was to base his clas- 
sification on tool production technology (Childe 

The archaeologists advocating this point of view, 
illogically identifying the Neolithic with one set of 
characteristics (related to the economy) and the 
Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Eneolithic, etc., by another 
set (tool types and raw materials), were confronted 
with the nonuniform evolution of human societies 
resulting from natural and historical factors— for in 
the case of many prehistoric peoples, changes in tool 
technology did not coincide with changes in subsis- 
tence economy. These archaeologists introduced the 
terms "Sub-Neolithic," and "Survival Neolithic," etc., 
for societies with a hunting and gathering economy 
and Neolithic material culture. 

Ideally, both archaeological cultures and chrono- 
logical dates should figure in the study of prehistory. 

However, this is not always possible given the pres- 
ent level of archaeological knowledge. Therefore, 
the terms "Agro-Neolithic" and "Ago-Neolithic" may 
be used to contrast Neolithic cultures with different 
subsistence economies (Khiobystin 1 972a). 

Two features indicate the beginning of the Ago- 
Neolithic: the earliest pottery and the incipient mass 
production of stone tools by bilateral retouch and 
grinding techniques. Local metallurgical production 
(bronze casting) or wide distribution of imported 
metal tools are features characteristic of the post- 

The Mesolithic of the European and West 
Siberian Arctic 

Among the earliest inhabitants of the European 
Arctic were representatives of the Komsa culture, or 
the "Arctic Palaeolithic" (Boe and Nummedal 1936; 
Freundt 1948; Curina 1971, 1973a; Luho 1956b; 
Odner 1966; Zemliakov 1937, 1940). Numerous 
Komsa settlements, discovered on the sea coast 
of northern Norway (Finnmark) and the western 
part of the Kola Peninsula, are located on ancient 
thirty to eighty meter-high terraces or beach ridges. 
Geological dating on the basis of these terrace loca- 
tions places the settlements between the seventh and 
sixth millennia B.C. (Curina et al. 1974), i.e., at the 
close of the Boreal and the beginning of the Atlantic 
Period. Some settlements attributed to the Komsa 
tradition have also been discovered in the interior 
of Norway and the Kola Peninsula. 

The Komsa tradition is represented by small dwell- 
ing sites with Mesolithic-like assemblages composed 
of arrowheads, scrapers, burins, knives, and drills 
made primarily of quartzite, slate and, less frequently, 
rock crystal and flint. Occasionally prismatic and 
discoid cores, large sidescrapers, coarse chopping 
tools and geometric microliths are encountered at the 
sites. Traces of a round tent-like dwelling have been 
discovered, as well as quarries and lithic workshops. 
Komsa people seem to have been hunters and coastal 
gatherers living in small groups. 



Different hypotheses have been advanced about 
the origin of the Komsa culture. The comparable 
traditions in Fennoscandia are the Fosna and, to some 
extent, Suomusjarvi culture. [Today, the oldest Fosna 
and Komsa sites date to 10,000 E.P.—Ed.]. Fosna 
sites have been discovered (Freundt 1948; Hagen 
1963) on the Atlantic coast of Norway, north of 
Bergen and in the sub-polar regions of Helgeland. 
Also attributable to the Fosna culture are some finds 
from southeastern Norway (Fulke Estfoll) and the 
west coast of Sweden. The dating of Fosna culture 
is controversial. There are grounds to correlate its 
material culture with the assemblages of Lungbu 
and Pinnberg sites of the eighth millennium B.C. 
which, in the final analysis, link Fosna with the 
Ahrensburgian tradition. 

The appearance of Fosna culture in Scandinavia 
is associated, in all probability, with the penetra- 
tion of people with a Pinnberg-related culture from 
Denmark into southern Sweden. This penetration 
could have taken place in the Early Boreal Period, 
when the isostatic rise of the bottom of the strait 
that connected the Yoldia Sea with the ocean 
resulted in the joining of Scandinavia with the 
southern Baltic coast and the formation of Ancylus 
Lake. From southern Sweden, via Estfoll, the Fosna 
migrants could have made their way through the 
river valleys (including Gudbrannsdalen) over the 
mountains to the Atlantic coast and thence north- 
ward to the sub-polar regions. 

Both the Fosna culture and the Komsa tradition are 
characterized by tanged arrowheads and geometric 
microliths. E. A. Freundt regarded Fosna and Komsa 
as closely related cultures. According to A. Hagen 
(1 967:42), the Komsa culture arose from Fosna and 
possibly other sources as well. V. Luho (1 956b:299) 
opposed the view that the Komsa culture originated 
from the Fosna tradition, suggesting that it resembled 
the Mesolithic of Finland instead. Some investigators 
recognize this resemblance and agree that the origin 
of Komsa may be associated with Mesolithic sites in 
Finland and comparable Karelian sites. 

Two Mesolithic traditions— the Askola (Luho 
1956a) and the Suomusjarvi (Luho 1 967)— are dis- 
tinguished in Finland. [Beginning in the mid-1970s, 
the existence of a single Suomusjarvi culture cover- 
ing the territory of Finland and dated from the end 
of the eighth through the fifth millennium B.P., has 
been recognized by most archaeologists studying the 
Northern European Palaeolithic— f<j/.] Askola culture 
is dated to the eighth through seventh millennia B.C., 
and Suomusjarvi, regarded as a subsequent stage in 
the development of the Askola culture, is dated to 
the seventh through fourth millennium B.C. They are 
now viewed in conjunction with the Mesolithic sites 
of Karelia as a single Mesolithic culture with certain 
local peculiarities (Pankrushev 1978:61). 

Within this framework, the Askola-type sites, 
dominated by quartz tools and a few specimens of 
slate, and Suomusjarvi-type sites, characterized by 
the continued use of quartz tools and more numer- 
ous and diverse slate implements, may represent two 
stages of Mesolithic evolution. Mesolithic finds from 
the Finnish Subarctic, the discovery of Mesolithic 
dwelling sites in the Lower Kem' region dated, argu- 
ably, to the tenth through eighth millennium B.C. 
(Anpilogov 1972; Pankrushev 1978), and on the 
Kandalaksha shore of the Kola Peninsula dated to the 
late seventh through fifth millennium B.C. (Pesonen 
1978), which bear some resemblance to Komsa 
sites— these lines of evidence provide support for the 
hypothesis of a Mesolithic migration [into Western 
Siberia] from Finland and Karelia. [Such suppositions 
on dating and the direction of a Mesolithic migration 
have not been supported by studies carried out in 
the 1980s and 1990s. —Ed.] 

In the Upper Volga area and the Vychegda 
region, rare specimens of trapezoidal flints have 
been encountered, whereas in southern Karelia, in 
some parts of the Vologda and Archangel districts 
and the Komi ASSR, leaf-shaped arrowheads made 
of blades have been found (Curina 1 977a:24-27). 
However, at this stage there is no reason to ascribe 
the appearance in the Komsa culture of trapezoids 



and tanged arrowheads to cultural influence from 
these regions, although there is some evidence of a 
possible penetration of the Kola Peninsula by certain 
cultural elements characteristic of the Volga-Oka 

The dwelling sites of southern Karelia with flint 
blade assemblages similar in raw material and type 
to artifacts from the Volga-Oka Mesoiithic sites point 
to the appearance in the Late Mesoiithic (ca. seventh 
through fourth millennium B.C.) of migrants from 
the Upper Volga (Pankrushev 1978:62-64). Nina 
N. Gurina discovered on the Shuniyoki River (in the 
northwestern part of the Kola Peninsula) dwelling 
sites that yielded arrowheads made of local slate 
blades with points and tangs formed by retouch, 
as well as conical cores typical of the Volga-Oka 
Mesoiithic. These and other finds suggest that the 
occupation of the Kola Peninsula in the Mesoiithic 
proceeded from two directions: northwest and south 
(Gurina 1977b). 

Hagen's hypothesis that Kosma developed out of 
the Fosna tradition is reasonable. Thus the formation 
and evolution of the Komsa culture was determined 
both by the appearance in North Fennoscandia and 
the Kola Peninsula of Fosna migrants and repeated 
ethnic migrations from Finland and Karelia. These 
migrants imparted to the Komsa culture features 
typical of the Askola-Suomusjarvi and Upper Volga 
traditions. It is difficult to ascertain which of the 
two migration waves— either from Norway or from 
Karelia and Finland— preceded the other and which 
ethnic components dominated in Komsa culture. This 
question may be answered by distinguishing between 
earlier and later Komsa industries. However, there is 
reason to believe that different ethnic groups, pri- 
marily those associated with the Mesoiithic cultures 
of the southern coast of the Baltic, contributed to 
the formation of Komsa. The influence of the Upper 
Volga Mesoiithic presumably reached the region at 
a later stage. 

Inasmuch as Upper Volga Mesoiithic origins are 
related to the Mesoiithic cultures of the Baltic and 

Southeast Europe, there is support for the idea that 
these early peoples represented a Europoid anthro- 
pological type rather than a Uralic one. Pankrushev's 
hypothesis (1 978:91 , supplement IV, fig. 1 ) about the 
colonization of Karelia and southern Finland in the 
Early Mesoiithic from the tenth through seventh mil- 
lennium B.C. by proto-Saami people migrating from 
the region northeast of the Urals is not supported 
by evidence from northeastern European Mesoiithic 

The archaeological material collected by the 
geologists Georgii A. Chernov and A. I. Blokhin in the 
central part of the Bolshezemelskaya tundra (Chernov 
1 948) made it possible to identify Mesoiithic dwelling 
site complexes from the Pechora sub-polar region 
(Khiobystin 1973b; Vereshchagina 1973). The sites 
where Mesoiithic artifacts were found were small, 
and the finds, as a rule, were not numerous. The 
paucity of artifacts suggests small bands leading a 
mobile way of life. Camps were discovered on high 
(1 5 to 20 meter) river banks. The site Sandibey I on 
the Kolva River tributary of the same name yielded a 
representative assemblage. 

Mesoiithic inhabitants of the Bolshezemelskaya 
tundra made blade tools from prismatic and coni- 
cal cores of jasper-like flint. Blades were used to 
produce end- and sidescrapers, angle burins and 
burins with finely retouched working edges, borers, 
knives and insets with retouched edges, as well as 
tanged arrowheads. Scrapers were manufactured 
from flakes. Mesoiithic artifacts from the habitation 
sites of the Pechora sub-polar region are analogous 
to those of the Mesoiithic period discovered in the 
taiga zone bordering the Bol'shaya Zemlya tundra in 
the south (Kanivets 1 973; Luzgin 1 972), and among 
the material from Mesoiithic sites of the Vychegda 
region in the Severnaya Dvina River Basin— Yavron'ga 
I and other sites (Burov 1961, 1974; Kanivets and 
Vereshchagina 1 973). 

The "microlithic" character of the Bol'shaya 
Zemlya settlements prompted O. N. Bader and G. M. 
Burov to suggest that they were Mesoiithic, with 



origins among the Vychegda sites and the Kama 
IVlesolithic (Bader 1961:16, 1966:199; Burov 1961, 
1965:1 58-161). The distribution of IVlesolithic sites 
over the hydrographic network that connects the 
Pechora sub-polar regions with the Kama provides 
evidence supporting this idea. However, neither blade 
arrowheads nor spear-like scrapers similar to those 
of the sub-polar Mesolithic have been discovered at 
Mesolithic sites on the Kama River. Nevertheless, the 
scanty Kama Mesolithic material appears related to 
the southern Ural Mesolithic. However, according to 
C. N. Matiushin (1964: 1976:139), Swiderian-type 
arrowheads have been found in Bashkiria. Therefore, 
further investigations may produce such arrowheads 
in the Kama region, although in all probability the 
Mesolithic industn/ of that region had its own distinc- 
tive features. 

Arrowheads are characteristic of the Mesolithic 
of the huge area covering Upper Volga, Oka, Upper 
Dnieper basins, and the Baltic lands (Kol'tsov 1 965, 
1977; Tret'iakov 1963). The Mesolithic finds from 
Vissky Peat Bog I and from other Sindor sites are 
similar to the Mesolithic Baltic complexes (Burov 
1 967:62-1 66), and to the Pechora Mesolithic and the 
Mesolithic of the Upper Volga. This evidence suggests 
that the colonization of the Pechora River downstream 
area and of the northeastern part of the European 
USSR proceeded from the southwest— from the Upper 
Volga basin via the Severnaya Dvina River. 

Due to the lack of absolute dates, the Pechora 
sub-polar Mesolithic chronology must be based 
on typological comparison with dated complexes 
of other regions. V.I. Kanivets found similarities 
with Sandibey I and sites of the third stage of the 
Volga-Oka Mesolithic and dated that group to 
about the sixth millennium B.C. (Kanivets 1 973:23). 
Radiocarbon dates on Mesolithic materials from the 
Yavron'ga I site (8,530 ± 60 BP; LE 853) and Vissky 
Peat Bog I (7,090 ± 70; 7,090 ± 80; 7,1 50 ± 60; 7,820 
± 80; 8,080 ± 90; samples LE 71 3, 685, 684, 61 6, 
and 776 respectively), i.e., seventh through sixth mil- 
lennium B.C., support the idea that human habitation 

in the Pechora sub-polar region dates to the sixth 
millennium B.C., although sites of the Sandibey I type 
could have existed there in the fifth millennium B.C. 
or even later, until either Neolithic culture penetrated 
the region or originated there. In the territory under 
review those cultures are represented by sites whose 
material suggests they are related by origin to the 
pit-comb traditions of the Upper Volga (Khiobystin 

In the Siberian Arctic, stretching for thousands 
of kilometers from the Urals to the Chukchi Sea, 
Mesolithic sites are rare. The exception is the Taymyr 
Peninsula, where a number of Mesolithic habitation 
sites have been identified. The relevant material will 
be discussed after a review of sites from extreme 
northern Siberia. 

A tool complex found on the Korchagi Promontory, 
on the bank of the Ob River down-stream from 
Salekhard, represents the Mesolithic of West Siberia 
(Khiobystin 1977). Here, on an eroded, wind-swept 
terrace fifteen to twenty meters high, an assemblage 
was exposed in the loess. Among the finds were 
three small cores of dark gray jasper-like rock: two 
prismatic and one pyramidal; a brownish jasper core 
from a quadrilateral blank; and a black siliceous 
slate object shaped like a core blank with a flat 
dorsal side. There was also a large sidescraper of 
light brown quartz and three small scrapers. Two 
of the latter are of the endscraper type, made from 
short thick blades. The blank used for the third was 
a heavy chip. Debitage was present, but no blades, 
indicating that blades produced at the site, which 
was given the name "Korchagi l-B," were removed 
by the inhabitants. 

Typological identification of the Korchagi com- 
plex presents difficulties since it is the only one 
known in northern West Siberia containing artifacts 
suggestive of the Upper Palaeolithic. Similar cores 
and scrapers are encountered at Mesolithic sites 
east of the Middle Urals, and on these grounds the 
artifacts from the Korchagi l-B site are referred to as 
Mesolithic. Nearby, in undisturbed strata, a carbo- 



naceous band was identified above the find in the 
loess deposits. Carbon from the band dates to 7260 
± 80 B.P. (LE 1 376) and confirms that Korchagi l-B is 
a IVIesolithic site. 

I have suggested elsewhere that the northern 
portions of West Siberia were colonized relatively 
late because the humid climate of the Atlantic period 
made the swampy West Siberian depression a nearly 
impassable barrier to human movement (Khiobystin 
1 973a; Khiobystin and Levkovskaia 1 974). However, 
along the ridge of the Urals there are territories with 
high elevations which in the Atlantic could have been 
used to penetrate the North as far as the region of 
present-day Salekhard, where flat uplands or "con- 
tinents" are situated. Such "continents" rise over 
the river valleys and in some cases stretch for long 
distances, such as the Ob-Polui "continent" where 
the Mesolithic site Korchagi l-B was discovered on 
Cape Korchagi. As this is the only such site known 
for this region, further investigations are needed to 
determine the extent to which Northwest Siberia was 
colonized; but for the time being we can assume 
that the region was sparsely populated during the 

The Mesolithic and Early Neolithic in 
East Siberia and Taymyr 

The climate of Eastern Siberia was more favorable 
for the settlement of polar regions than that of 
Northwest Siberia. The East Siberian climate is more 
continental (Borisov 1975:130, 1 31) and has less 
annual precipitation than the West Siberian tundra. 
In all probability during the Atlantic Period, when the 
Polar Basin was free of ice, this condition prevailed 
also. Warmer temperatures, when compared with 
the West Siberian lowland, also contributed to the 
settling of the vast Siberian polar areas. These areas 
are still poorly known archaeologically, and therefore 
there are few sites that date to the Atlantic. Sites 
have been recorded, however, in the basins of the 
Anabar and Olenek rivers and on the Indigirka and 
Kolyma rivers. 

A number of sites have been identified by inves- 
tigators from the Institute of Arctic Geology, which 
surveyed the area between the Anabar and the 
Olenek (Clushinskii and Khiobystin 1 966; Khiobystin 
1 970; Konstantinov 1 970; Okladnikov and Puminov 
1958a, b). Sites discovered in the basins of these 
rivers contained an abundance of artifacts belong- 
ing to core and blade industries. The blade tradition 
persisted here until the Bronze Age, as indicated by 
materials from the Buolkalaakh site. One of the rea- 
sons for this phenomenon was the presence of local 
outcrops of flinty slate. This raw material is easily 
flaked into bladelets and facilitated the manufacture 
of blade artifacts. Tools from a site on the Timir-Bilir 
River are made of this flinty slate. This site is situated 
in the watershed of the Anabar and the Olenek riv- 
ers. In 1 961 , the geologist F. F. Iljin gathered a small 
but representative collection of stone tools on the 
third terrace of the Timir-Bilir River. The collection 
includes three small arrowheads made of knife-like 
blades produced by retouching the tip and the base 
from the ventral side, a burin on a truncated bladelet, 
and two endscrapers with steep-backed retouch but 
which retain (thanks to the fact that they are made 
of massive blades) the traits of endscrapers. In addi- 
tion, there are several flakes and many blades. Some 
of the latter display marginal retouch on the ventral 
surface and were probably used as insets. One of the 
projectile points displays diagonal retouching typical 
of the cultures of the Lena region. 

The juxtaposition of this assemblage, consisting 
of archaic forms, with materials of Mesolithic and 
Neolithic cultures of eastern Siberia, points to the 
great antiquity of the Timir-Bilir site. In the Lower 
Lena region, arrowheads made of knife-like blades 
and some other tools similar to those from Timir- 
Bilir were found by Okladnikov near Lakes Uolba 
and Kylarsa on hills that once served as seasonal 
fishing camps (Okladnikov 1 946:1 0-57, tables IV, V, 
VII). In the Baikal region such artifacts existed dur- 
ing the Hin (Final) Stage of the Mesolithic, dated to 
the sixth through fifth millennium B.C. (Okladnikov 



1 950c:l 57-1 64). The absence of the tanged arrow- 
heads from Aldan sites of the Sumnagin culture is 
probably characteristic of the Mesolithic and Early 
Neolithic of East Siberia and thus does not disprove 
the early age of the Timir-Bilir finds. Such arrowheads 
are known among the Early Neolithic artifacts from 
another large Yakutsk river, the Vilyui (Fedoseeva 
1 968:49, 50). A fragment of such an arrowhead was 
also found in Evenkiya at the Tura I site excavated by 
Andreev. Similar arrowheads found on the Indigirka 
River and on the Chukchi Peninsula are described 

Mochanov, who formerly disputed the use of 
bows and arrows in Sumnagin culture (Mochanov 
1969:131, 1973b:40), is now inclined to think 
that some of the blade arrowheads are Sumnagin 
(Mochanov 1977:246-248). Taking into consid- 
eration the tool typology of the Timir-Bilir site, its 
position on the third terrace, and the presence of 
Late Neolithic sites with other types of arrowheads on 
the Anabar and the Olenek, a reasonable date for the 
Timir-Bilir site is the Late Mesolithic or Early Neolithic, 
or between the fifth and fourth millennia B.C. Thus, 
the site may be one of the first settlements in the 
polar regions of East Siberia dating to the beginning 
of the Atlantic Period. 

Among surface finds coming from other sites of 
the eastern part of the North Siberian lowland, for 
example, from the Ulakhan-Kyuelsane site in the 
Uele River basin, where materials were collected by 
geologists lljin and Ermolayev in 1 966, and from the 
site located on the east bank of the Anabar River 
eighteen kilometers upstream from Uryung-Khaya 
village, where materials were collected by lljin in 
1960, are blade artifacts burins on a break, tiny 
insets, endscrapers— that date to the Mesolithic or 
Early Neolithic. 

According to available data (Mochanov 1 977:99, 
fig. 1 8) from northern Yakutia, Sumnagin sites were 
found on the Indigirka River (the Yubileinaya site) 
and on the lower reaches of the Kolyma River on 
the Panteleikha River (Panteleikha l-VIII and Pirs). 

Tanged arrowheads made on blades (Mochanov 
1977:table 86) that could represent the Sumnagin 
culture were found at the Yubileinaya site. At sites 
on the Kolyma River, Sumnagin culture endscrapers 
were made on massive blades and blade-like flakes 
that could be distinguished from Neolithic and Early 
Iron Age artifacts. Some other tools from these sites, 
such as endscrapers and knives and insets made on 
microblades, may belong, as noted by Mochanov 
(1 977:203-207) both to the Sumnagin culture and to 
the Neolithic. The Burulgino site on the lower reaches 
of the Indigirka River was thought to date to the sixth 
through fifth millennium B.C. (Beregovaia 1 967:87), 
but subsequent work has demonstrated that the site 
was incorrectly dated (Fedoseeva 1972:261). 

As for the Chukchi Peninsula, the Mesolithic and 
Early Neolithic can be inferred from surface finds 
from sites near Lakes Tytyl and lonigytkhyn, as well as 
from a tanged arrowhead made on a blade recovered 
at the Ust-Belaya site. This tool is similar to arrow- 
heads from Yubileinaya (Dikov 1 979:1 30-1 34). 

Tagenar VI 

The Tagenar VI site is the oldest precisely dated site 
with evidence for the settlement of the Taymyr region 
during the Atlantic Period. It was discovered by the 
Polar Expedition in 1 967 and investigations were car- 
ried out in 1 968 and 1 972. The site is situated on the 
left bank of the Tagenar River, five kilometers from its 
confluence with the Volochanka River, which is part 
of the Kheta and Khatanga River basins. The most 
efficient route linking the Yenisey River region of 
North Siberia with the lower reaches of the Lena River 
follows the Tagenar and the Volochanka rivers. The 
site occupies a small sandy hill on the first terrace, 
five to seven meters above the present river level. 

Thirty-nine square meters were excavated at the 
top of the hill along the edge of a blowout (Fig. 8). 
Stratigraphy was documented as follows (Fig. 9): 
under a weakly developed turf cover (0-0.02 m) lies 
a gray-yellow sand level (0.02-0.34 m) containing a 
thin brown humus lens. This turns into a sandy layer 



(0.34-0.47 m) with lenses of dark brown humus, 
which are more dense at greater depths. The sandy 
stratum has a distinct lower terminus, at which point 
ground-ice wedges begin that occasionally become 
thin descending fissures. A long wedge (0.8-1 m) was 
found cutting through underlying deposits of brown- 
ish laminated sand (0.47-1 .32 m), which contained 
eight or nine lenses of humus and charcoal ranging 

in thickness between 0.5 to 2 centimeters. Hearths 
and pieces of burnt wood and bark are associated 
with these lenses. 

A 1 to 3 centimeter horizontal lens composed 
of humus and charcoal 1.20 to 1.32 meters from 
the surface contained red and black discolorations 
from hearths, small stones, stains of crimson ocher, 
and lithic artifacts. This cultural layer is underlain 

1 m 
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1 1 




1 5 
















1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

8/ Map of the excavations at Tagenar VI. 

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9/ Spatial distribution of materials at Tagenar VI (top). Legend: I = charcoal; 2 = rocks; 3 = microblades; 4 
= retouched blades; 5 = burins; 6 = scrapers; 7 = cores; 8 = chisels; 9 = flakes; 10 = gravers. Stratigraphic 
profile of Tagenar VI (bottom), showing frost edge at 7.5 east, square 2. 



by yellow and sometimes gray coarse-grained sand 
resembling channel alluvium. Cultural materials are 
unevenly distributed within this level. Charcoal frag- 
ments, small burned stones, and bird and animal 
bones were concentrated near a large hearth. Bones 
from this stratum are poorly preserved and only 
reindeer teeth could be identified. Thin prismatic 
bladelets and associated fragments (2 1 5 specimens, 
including retouched pieces) constitute the majority of 
cultural materials. Only sixty-two flakes were found, 
and most were very small. Microblades were detached 
from prismatic cores made 
of gray, pink, and white 
slabs of flint. Three such 
cores were found during 
the excavation (Fig. 1 0:24- 
26). The original size of the 
cores is indicated by the 
blades removed from them, 
which reach 7.7 centime- 
ters (Fig. 1 0;23). Prismatic 
blades were primarily used 
as knives, and the majority 
display use-wear. Marginal, 
poorly executed retouch 
was often seen on blades 
(Fig. 10:14-19), which may 
have been used as insets in 
composite tools. 

Based on the micro- 
insets, these composite 
tools were highly devel- 
oped. Two backed micro- 
blades measuring 1 
and 1 3 millimeters long 
and 2.5 and 3 millime- 
ters wide, respectively, 
displayed careful, steep, 
small-faceted retouch (Fig. 
10:9, 10). Inset slots could 
have been cut either by 
ordinary burins on a break 

(three such burins were found: Fig. 10:1-3) or by 
angular and beak-like cutters. The angular cutters 
are truncated blades with tiny retouch that forms 
something like a burin facet (Fig. 1 0:4, 5). 

Another type of cutter has a beak-like point 
distinguished by marginal notch near the point of 
truncation (Fig. 10:6, 7). One blade has sloping 
ventral retouch and probably represents a fragment 
from a perforator or an arrowhead (Fig. 10:8). The 
small size of lithic artifacts and the limited retouch, 
which is characteristic of this complex, is also evident 

/ 0/ Lithic artifacts from Tagenar VI. 



in endscrapers: some were produced by detaching 
several small flakes from broken blades (Fig. 1 0: 11 , 
13, 20). Blades more thoroughly worked by steep 
dorsal retouch along an edge and the rounded proxi- 
mal end were used as endscrapers and sidescrapers 
(Fig. 1 0:1 5). The sole tool made from a flake is an 
oval endscraper. Its dorsal and ventral surfaces dis- 
play retouch; the working edge is hardly damaged 
but has been polished, probably as a result of skin 
processing (Fig. 10:21). A massive removal from a 
prismatic core was used to manufacture a chisel-like 
tool (Fig. 1 0:22). Its curved working edge was formed 
by several blows from the ventral side, while the 
dorsal surface retains the scars resulting from the 
core stage. Slate flakes with partially ground surfaces 
show that the inhabitants of the site were familiar 
with grinding technology. 

There are two radiocarbon dates for the Tagenar 
VI site. One was obtained from charcoal gathered 
on the periphery of the cultural layer where some 
admixture from the overlying humus-charcoal stra- 
tum may have occurred: 5160 ± 60 B.P. (LE 789). 
Another date was obtained from charcoal taken from 
the hearth and its associated cultural remains. This 
sample yielded a date of 6020 ± 100 B.P. (LE 884), 
i.e., the end of the sixth millennium B.C. 

The analysis of spores and pollen samples 
extracted from the site's stratigraphic profile was 
carried out by Levkovskaia and colleagues (1972). 
The results indicate that arboreal pollen is absent in 
the strata underlying the cultural layer, but during the 
period when the site was occupied, there were taiga 
forests in the vicinity. Arboreal and shrub species of 
birch and alder predominated, and conifers (larch, 
fir, pine) were of secondary importance. This pollen 
assemblage corresponds to the lb subzone (birch 
forests with shrub birch and larch) of the Atlantic 
Period, as known from the pollen diagram of the 
peat bog near Cape Karginsky. Tagenar VI also dates 
to the same time as the Karginsky peat bog. The 
climate at that time was warm and moist. While now 
there is tundra around the hill on which the site is 

situated, there may have been more lakes and bogs 
when it was inhabited. Today the Tagenar basin is a 
part of the northern forest-tundra subzone and has 
a sparse growth of larch stretching along the banks 
of the river. 

Tagenar VI is not the only Mesolithic site known 
from Taymyr. Among the ancient sites found by the 
Polar Expedition while exploring the banks of the 
Pyasina River (the main waterway of the western 
part of Taymyr) are a number of sites (e.g., Pyasina 
I, III, IV, V, XI, XV; Lantoshka II; Malaya Korennaya II 
and III; Kapkannaya II) where assemblages and tools 
made from Mesolithic-type microblades were found. 
Tools from these sites were usually manufactured of 
slate or flinty hornstone [chalky or poor quality flint 
or chert. —Ed.] brown or dark gray in color. 

In Taymyr the most suitable places for human 
habitation were used repeatedly by early peoples of 
this region. Sites that face the sun, are open to the 
wind (to drive away mosquitoes), and are located on 
well-drained sandy ridges or high terraces near the 
mouths of small rivers are considered most desir- 
able. Most of these locations are used for summer 
camps, after the flood season, and their surfaces are 
often disturbed by aeolian erosion, leaving artifacts 
scattered or in localized accumulations. Other types 
of sites were occupied only for short periods of time 
and contain minimal traces of human activity. Activity 
areas were usually of limited extent and frequently 
do not overlap, permitting materials to be divided 
into different chronological complexes. Thus for the 
majority of such sites it is possible to distinguish 
typologically earlier assemblages from later ones. 
Lantoshka II contains an assemblage that has been 
identified as having no admixture. 

Pyasina I 

The Pyasina I site is notable for its microblades. The 
site is situated on the left bank of the Pyasina River, 5 
kilometers downstream from the Bolshaya Korennaya 
River mouth and has two clearly identifiable terraces: 
the first one at five to six meters, and the second at 



nine meters above the river level. Two cultural layers 
were revealed on a cape-like projection of the second 
terrace. The first cultural layer, represented by a 5 
centimeter-thick layer of dark brown sand with char- 
coal stains was found directly under the turf. 

Artifacts from this layer included thin-walled 
ceramics dating to the Iron Age. Below, in gray- 
yellow sand at a depth of 1 to 24 centimeters, is 
dark brown humus broken by cryogenic processes 
that contains ashy spots 
three to six centimeters 
thick. Microblades are 
rare in this layer. However, 
ninety, with two or three 
ridges, or arrises, on the 
dorsal side, were collected 
from a blowout near the 
excavation over an area 
of 20 square meters. Only 
twenty-eight flakes and 
chips of slate, light jasper, 
and chalcedony were iden- 
tified during the excava- 
tion. Accompanying them 
were 103 microblades. 
The majority were made 
of gray and black slate, 
while some were made of 
light-colored jasper. Some 
may have been struck 
from a large flat-backed 
core (Fig. 11:13) found in 
a blowout 1 5 to 20 meters 
away from the main con- 
centration of artifacts. 
This core has been clas- 
sified as a flat-backed 
core because it, as well 
as some other examples 
found in the Siberian polar 
zone, has a purposefully 
flattened ventral surface 

(i.e., the side opposite the flaking surface). Judging 
by the character and color of raw materials, it is pos- 
sible that other blades were removed from no more 
than four or five cores. As a rule these cores are rather 
large, with a width ranging from eight to thirteen mil- 
limeters and a length that may exceed 60 millimeters. 
Almost all microblades were used as tools, but only 
thirty-two display retouch. Others were used simply 

/ 1/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina I. 



as knives, as indicated by use-wear. Tine function of 
the tools was ascertained by use-wear analysis. 

Thirteen microblades were made into burins (Fig. 
11:1-11). Four have burin facets on two corners of 
the same end; two burins were formed by two burin 
blows from the same edge; seven were created by 
single burin blows. The burins were often resharp- 
ened by additional blows. One tool has one corner 
formed by a burin blow, and another formed by 
dorsal retouch (Fig. 11:5). 
The blades used for manu- 
facturing these tools had 
earlier been utilized as 
knives or sidescrapers. 

Of a total of five end- 
scrapers, four have oval- 
convex working edges and 
in one case the truncated 
end of a blade was used 
without additional retouch 
(Fig. 12:1 -6). On the lateral 
edges of a long endscraper 
there are use-wear traces 
resembling that found on 
knives. Edges of a massive 
endscraper bear clear evi- 
dence that the tool was also 
utilized as a sidescraper. 
Use-wear suggests that 
twelve microblades were 
used as sidescrapers (Fig. 
12:20, 21, 23-26), of which 
four have extensive mar- 
ginal retouch on their ven- 
tral surfaces and served 
originally as insets. One 
group of endscrapers is 
composed of small micro- 
blades with retouch on the 
ventral surface near the 
bulb of percussion (Fig. 
1 2:9-1 1 ). Four microblades 

were used as saws (Fig. 12:16, 22) and have edges 
with denticulated retouch. Two perforators were 
made from small microblades (Fig. 12:7). A broken 
perforator has a point shaped by steep retouch (Fig. 

A group of tools differing from those described 
above was found accompanied by Late Iron Age 
ceramics near the main accumulation of microblades 
a short distance from the presen/ed deposits. These 

12/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina I. 



tools included two semi-lunar knives made of bluish 
flinty rock that show evidence of grinding. Their cut- 
ting edges were sharpened only from one side (Fig. 
1 3:8, 9). Also found were a fragment of a bifacially 
retouched inset (Fig. 13:3) and a half-finished leaf- 
shaped tool made from a primary flake removed from 
a slab of flinty bluish rock (Fig. 1 3:7). Especially inter- 
esting are five objects of slate identical to the type of 
rock used to manufacture the microblades from the 
FVasina I site. These include one bifacially retouched 
inset (Fig. 13:3) and fragments of four bifacially 
retouched knives or points (Fig. 1 3:1 , 2, 5, 6). 

These tools do not belong to the complex that 
includes the Iron Age ceramics; the connection of 
this complex to the microblade complex remains 
unclear. It is possible that bifacially worked tools 
appeared as early as the Mesolithic in Taymyr. The 
entire complex of stone tools from Pyasina I, where 
ceramic materials may have been present but did 
not survive, dates from the Early Neolithic. Finally, 
bifaces and blade tools may belong to two different 
chronological complexes: Neolithic and Mesolithic. 

Such a combination of tools has never been reported 
for any known Neolithic site in Taymyr. 

Lantoshka II 

An eight-to-ten-meter high terrace that forms one 
bank of the Pyasina River stretches from the mouth 
of the Lantoshka River (a right bank tributary of the 
Pyasina) northwards. The surface of the terrace is 
broken by rows of small blowouts that stretch along 
the edge of the terrace. A small, but diagnostic col- 
lection of stone tools, consisting of twelve flakes, 
eight of which can be classified as blade-flakes, 
and fifteen prismatic blades, was gathered over 
an area about 1 50 square meters. The majority of 
blades are large— their width varies from 9 to 1 2 
centimeters— made of gray, brown, and beige flinty 
slate. Smaller blades (5 to 8 cm wide) are made of 
jasper-like rock. Use-wear analysis suggests that all 
were utilized; their edges retain traces of cutting and 
planing. The upperend of one of the massive blades 
is polished, and transverse striations are seen on its 
rounded end, indicating that this tool was used as 

/ 3/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina I. 



a polisher (Fig. 14;24). Four blades were retouched 
and two were insets. They have sloping unilateral 
ventral retouch, which enabled them to be fastened 
in the groove of a composite tool more symmetrically 
(Fig. 1 4:21 ). The same retouch is seen on the blade's 
broken end (Fig. 1 4:28), which originally also served 
as an inset and was later used as a sidescraper. Its 
edge was also worked by steep retouch. 

One large blade (Fig. 14:23) has a symmetrical 
point made by bifacial retouch on the end with the 
bulb of percussion. The opposite end of the blade 
is truncated, and the lateral 
edges near the break are 
trimmed by steep retouch, 
probably to create a better 
surface for hafting. The blade 
is asymmetric in cross-section 
and the slant of its point, 
evident under microscopic 
examination, functioned as a 
sidescraper and a push plane. 
Use-wear evident on the lat- 
eral sides show that the tool 
was also utilized as a knife. 
However, it could also have 
been used as an arrowhead. 
The only chalcedony tool 
is a blade-flake, which has 
notches and a beaked projec- 
tion on one end, all formed 
by steep marginal retouch. 
The projection was the main 
working part of the tool and 
was used as an endscraper 
(Fig. 14:25). 

Pyasma III 

One and a half to two kilo- 
meters downstream from the 
Pyasina I site, on the eight- 
meter-high right bank terrace, 
the remains of a number of 

settlements dating to different periods were found. 
Stream valleys and ravines divide the terrace into 
several sections, two of which had concentrations 
of cultural remains separated by a stream valley. 
Upstream is FVasina III; downstream, Pyasina IV. 

The surface of the Pyasina III terrace is disturbed 
by blowouts and contained five concentrations of 
materials. Three of the concentrations yielded arti- 
facts including crude flakes of quartzite, fragments 
of crucibles, arrowheads, an endscraper of quartzite, 
a congealed lump of bronze, and ceramics from the 

14/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina III (nos. 1-14); Pyasina V (15): Malaya 
Korennaya 1(16, I 7): Malaya Korennaya II ( 1 8-20): Lantoshka II (21 , 23-25, 
27, 28): Malaya Korennaya III (22, 26): Istok Glubokiy (29). 



Late Bronze or Early Iron Age. In the other two concen- 
trations only stone artifacts, including microblades, 
were found. In the higher, southern part of the site 
on an area of 1 to 1 5 square meters, six flint flakes 
(one with massive scraper retouch), and fragments 
of eleven microblades of jasper, including a crested 
blade, were collected. Use retouch is observable on 
these blades. Steep retouch forms the convex work- 
ing edge of an endscraper formed on the end of one 
of the blades (Fig. 1 4:4). 

The second concentration of stone artifacts was 
found near the edge of the terrace, in the middle 
of a large blowout. The collected objects were scat- 
tered over an area of 1 5 to 20 square meters. They 
include twenty-three small flakes of flinty rock, an 
endscraper, a core, seventeen prismatic blades, and 
one crested blade. The blades are made of jasper 
and flinty slate identical to that from the Pyasina I 
site. The core is made of flinty slate. Its back (the 
rear side, opposite the blade spall surface) is slightly 
sharpened by flaking, indicating that it belongs to 
the type known as a sharp-backed core (Fig. 14:8). 
However, it is strongly reduced and close to the pris- 
matic core type. The core has two striking platforms; 
blades were struck from opposite ends. 

The endscraper is made of whitish jaspery rock 
(Fig. 14:10) and has blade scars on its dorsal surface. 
This artifact has three working edges, each formed by 
steep retouch. The left edge of the tool was renewed 
by a blow from the ventral side. One of the blades 
was turned into an endscraper, but its working edge 
is partially broken. One blade served as an inset; the 
edge that was inserted into a handle was thinned by 
ventral retouch and another edge has marked use 
retouch. A large blade was used as a knife and an 
endscraper: there is tiny use retouch on two of its 
edges and on the rounded end. Another blade also 
served as a knife. Four burins-on-a-break were made 
of small blade fragments (Fig. 1 4:1 , 2). 

Three points on blades are especially interesting. 
One (Fig. 14:1 3) made of light beige flinty slate stands 
out for its careful manufacture. This tool resembles a 

triangular arrowhead with a straight base and shows 
no clear evidence of use-wear. The second point is 
made of brown slab flint (Fig. 14:14) and the third 
from light gray jasper (Fig. 1 4:1 2). They are pointed 
on the proximal end, but are not as carefully made 
as the first. Their working edges, formed by bifacial 
retouch, meet at an angle of 41 degrees. The absence 
of use-wear on the pointed ends allows them to be 
identified as arrowheads. 

Pyasina IV 

The promontory on the lower bank, where FVasina 
IV is situated, has two collection areas and yielded 
materials from different time periods. The major con- 
centration of artifacts, made of flinty slate, is situated 
in the middle of the site area at the same elevation 
as Pyasina III. In 1971 and 1972, eighty-six flinty 
slate blades and twenty-three blades of jasper and 
chalcedony were collected from a blowout. A small 
accumulation of flinty slate blades was also found 
in the upper area of the site in 1 973. Single blades 
were found in different areas of the site: chalcedony 
blades predominated in the upper area; there were 
three burins-on-breaks (Fig. 15:8-10) among the 
flinty slate blades in the middle part of the cape, and 
one of the burins had facets on all four corners; there 
were also five small endscrapers (Fig. 1 5:2-5, 7), an 
angular cutter (Fig. 15:18), five insets, two blades 
with uneven marginal retouch (Fig. 15:11-17), and 
a fragment of the upper end of a blade with steep 
unilateral retouch, which served as a sidescraper (Fig. 

1 5:1 9). A crested blade made of light flinty slate was 
intensively used as a reamer: its upper end served as 
a point without any additional treatment. The tip of 
the tool is highly polished (Fig. 1 5:27). Three broken 
blades have ends pointed by retouch (Fig. 1 5:22, 24, 

2 5). These objects are undoubtedly stems of arrow- 
heads that were probably leaf-shaped. A burin-on-a- 
break made of jasper was also found here. 

In the upper site area, two endscrapers were 
found (Fig. 1 5:1 , 6), as well as one leaf-shaped arrow- 
head with a broken point (Fig. 1 5:26), the stem of 



another arrowhead rounded by ventral retouch (Fig. 
1 5:23), and a core (Fig. 1 5:21 ). The core is biconical 
in form; blades were struck from the two opposite 
ends. Chalcedony blades and some blades of jasper 
were used either as sidescrapers or as knives, and 
one amorphous chalcedony blade flake was worked 
as an endscraper. 

In a previous publication of the 1971 materi- 
als, chalcedony endscrapers were ascribed to the 
same complex as the slate blades because they 
had been found together in one area (Khiobystin 
1973a:fig. 14:17-19). Subsequent work has shown 
that chalcedony tools and slate 
blades form separate assem- 
blages. Chalcedony probably 
began to be used on the site 
later, in the third millennium 
B.C., when corded ceramics 
appear— a ceramic sherd was 
recovered in the middle area of 
the site. The artifacts of flinty 
slate might be assigned to the 
Mesolithic (like the materials 
from Lantoshka II and FVasina III) 
if not for the leaf-shaped arrow- 
heads. Arrowheads have been 
found at Early Neolithic sites 
like Abylaakh and Clubokoe I 
together with net-impressed 
ceramics. Whether such ceram- 
ics existed at Pyasina IV or 
whether leaf-shaped arrow- 
heads appeared in Taymyr for 
the first time in the Pre-ceramic 
is unclear; therefore the Pyasina 
IV assemblage should date 
either to the end the Mesolithic 
or to the Early Neolithic. 

dated in a similar way. This site is situated 72 kilo- 
meters from the source of the Pyasina River, on its 
right bank at the mouth of a small river. The right 
bank of this river valley and the 8 to 1 meter terrace 
of the Pyasina form a small narrow projection with 
steep slopes and a level surface containing numerous 
blowouts. Stone tools and ceramics were collected 
from the front of the terrace facing the Pyasina over 
an area of about 1 00 square meters. 

The collection includes small fragments of 
Ymiyakhtakh (Bronze Age) and Pyasina (Early Iron 
Age) vessels, bifacial endscrapers (Fig. 16:11,21 -24) 

Kapkannaya II 

The blade artifacts from the 
Kapkannaya II site should be 

/ 5/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina IV (nos. 1 -27); Bolshaya Korennaya I (28, 
29): Malaya Korennaya I (30, 31): Pyasina XV (32, 34, 35): Pyasina XI (33, 
37, 38): Yara-Tanama (36): Kholodnaya V (39). 



and arrowheads (Fig. 16:7, 10-12), and shouldered 
perforators made of blue-gray flinty slate (Fig. 16:16, 
1 7). Seventy-seven prismatic blades were recovered, 
six of jasper, one of emerald-colored chalcedony, 
and the others of flinty slate. This slate resembles 
hornstone and has a beige patinated surface and is 
black or dark gray on a fresh break. The patina forms 
on the exposed surfaces of artifacts and is associated 
with physical and chemical changes that make the 
material soft and brittle. The majority of blades and 
flakes made of this slate have broken edges, making 
it difficult to ascertain how they were used. 

Among the tools that have been preserved are 
a burin-on-a-break (Fig. 16:5), a small endscraper 
(Fig. 1 6:6), seven blade insets with unilateral ventral 
retouch, and an inset with bilateral retouch (Fig. 1 6:1 - 
4, 13-1 5). A point formed by marginal ventral retouch 
(Fig. 1 6:9) resembles arrowheads of Lantoshka II and 
Pyasina III. Another arrowhead fragment (Fig. 16:8) 
has one surface covered entirely with retouch scars. 

while the other is retouched only along the margin 
and belongs, together with the arrowheads from 
Pyasina IV, to the leaf-shaped type characteristic of 
Early Neolithic sites. Finally, Kapkannaya II yielded 
one slate flake struck from the edge of the striking 
platform of a prismatic core and two blades of light 
jasper (Fig. 1 6: 1 8, 20). The edges of the jasper blades 
are retouched, but only lightly. This retouch served 
to make a working edge, not to facilitate insertion 
into the groove of a composite tool, as was the case 
with flinty slate blades. 

In general, the blade complex at Kapkannaya II 
suggests that the site was settled during the tran- 
sitional period between the Mesolithic and the Early 

Since use of flinty slate for manufacturing blade 
tools of Mesolithic and Early Neolithic types is char- 
acteristic of the early Pyasina River sites, it is possible 
to date a number of other sites that contain similar 
artifact assemblages to the Pre-ceramic, although 

/ 6/ Lithic artifacts from Kapkannaya II. 



the assemblages of these sites are not as numerous 
and diverse as the materials from Kapkannaya II. A 
group of such sites is situated on the right bank of 
the Pyasina River six to seven kilometers downstream 
from the village of Cresty. FVasina XI is remarkable 
for its large flakes and blades, which include nine 
blades, one large endscraper (Fig. 15:37), and a 
crested blade with notches made by light retouch 
(Fig. 1 5:33). One blade and two bifacial fragments 
are made of jasper, and one of the latter was origi- 
nally either a leaf-shaped knife, or, more likely a dart 
point (Fig. 1 5:38). 

At FVasina XIII flinty slate blades were recovered 
together with bifacial ly worked chalcedony and jasper 
tools that date to the Developed Neolithic or Early 
Bronze Age. 

A collection of flinty slate artifacts was also col- 
lected from Pyasina XV. Besides flakes and blades, 
this collection included the stem of a blade arrowhead 
(Fig. 1 5:35), a blade inset (Fig. 1 5:34), and afragment 
from a bifacially retouched inset (Fig. 1 5:32). 

The majority of artifacts found at Malaya Korennaya 
II, which is situated on the right bank of the Pyasina 
River downstream from the point where the Malaya 
Korennaya River flows into the Pyasina, belongs to 
the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. However, there 
was also a flake detached from the striking platform 
of a prismatic core, a burin-on-a-break (Fig. 1 4:20), a 
burin-on-a-break of a blade inset (Fig. 1 4:1 9), and six 
flinty slate blades. An endscraper made from ajasper 
blade was also found (Fig. 1 4: 1 8). 

In 1971 at the nearby Malaya Korennaya III site, 
an accumulation of materials was discovered in a 
blowout. Artifacts included crude endscrapers, a 
fragment of a ground adze, a fragment of a crucible, 
flint, chalcedony and quartzite flakes, and Iron Age 
ceramics, with both smooth undecorated surfaces 
and with rhomboid net-like designs. Two prismatic 
blades stand out from other finds. One is made of 
dark gray, nearly black, flinty slate and had been 
made into a saw by unilateral ventral retouch (Fig. 
1 4:26). Another, of dark brown flinty slate, was origi- 

nally an arrowhead similar to those found at Pyasina 
III and Lantoshka II (Fig. 1 4:22). Its proximal end was 
sharpened by flat ventral retouch and a long burin 
blow, and another burin blow had been struck from 
the distal end. The blade was also used as a knife, 
as is indicated by use-wear on the preserved edge. 
This point indicates a Mesolithic occupation, while 
a net ceramic fragment found in another blowout is 
a Neolithic type. 

As noted above, the identification of Mesolithic 
and Early Neolithic blade tools in surface collections 
not associated with ceramics can be difficult. Below, I 
discuss sites where flinty slate blade tools were found 
without Neolithic ceramics. Although this chapter is 
devoted to the Mesolithic, it is possible that these 
sites date to the Early Neolithic. One such site is 
near the Korennoy field camp. The majority of these 
artifacts date to the end of the first millennium B.C., 
but the assemblage includes one burin-on-a-break 
(Fig. 1 5:28) and a marginally retouched blade, both 
made of flinty slate. 

A complete flat-backed core of flinty slate was 
found at Pyasina V, near an old Dolgan interrment. 
The core was probably uncovered in the course of 
digging the grave pit. The striking platform forms a 
sharp angle with the flaking surface (Fig. 1 4:1 5). 

The Kholodnaya V site on the Dudypta River 
probably dates to the Mesolithic-Early Neolithic. 
Only three artifacts were recovered from a large 
blowout: a blade, a flake, and an arrowhead. The 
latter was formed by retouching a microblade (Fig. 
1 5:39). Its stem is broken, and the break was sub- 
sequently used for removing a burin spall. Flakes, 
blades, and a blade inset of flinty slate (Fig. 1 4:29) 
were found on a promontory at the eponymous 
lacustrine source of the Glubokaya River. Here white 
jasper flakes bearing marginal retouch and ceramics 
with ribbed impressions were found that date to the 
Early Bronze Age. 

An endscraper on a wide, thin blade of transparent 
brown jasper, found on the Yare-Tanama River (Fig. 
1 5:36), most probably dates to the Mesolithic-Early 



Neolithic. This marks the first find of a stone tool 
from the Gydan Peninsula. 

The Polar Expedition found many sites that 
yielded only artifacts belonging to blade-based 
industries. These sites are primarily from the 
Kheta-Khatanga River basin in eastern Taymyr and 
are situated on elevated banks and on hills rising 
above the surrounding tundra. In spring these hills 
emerge from under the snow before other areas of 
the terrain. Strong, frequent winds combined with 
snow-blasting destroy vegetation and erode the soil, 
leaving a residual cover of small pebbles— sorted or 
unsorted— displaying "desert varnish." Blades and 
cores, found singly or in groups, are found among 
these pebbles as well as in blowouts. Representative 
sites include Labaz V, VI, and IX; Samos; Ust-Popigay 
I; and Bludnaya II. 

The Samos site, on a twenty-meter-high terrace 
on the right bank of the Khatanga River, yielded 21 7 
blades and blade fragments as well as a small number 
of flakes and chips of flinty slate and yellow and pink 
jasper. The majority of the flakes were derived from 
prismatic cores. A small, elongated conical core, from 
which a few bladelets were detached (Fig. 17:10), 
was also recovered. Among blade artifacts were four 
burins on breaks, two blades with marginal dorsal 
retouch, and two blades with lateral notches formed 
by light retouch. 

Bludnaya II yielded fifty-eight blades and blade 
fragments, seventy-two flakes, and a fragment of a 
conical core made of light-colored jasper (Fig. 1 8:4). 
Three burins-on-breaks were made on blades. Only 
one blade has clear evidence of retouch and was 
used as a sidescraper. Aside from jasper artifacts, a 
chalcedony core with two opposed flaking surfaces 
was recovered (Fig. 1 8:5). Since no other chalcedony 
artifacts were found here, this core should be con- 
sidered unrelated to the other artifacts. 

Fifty-one blades, a fragment of a flat-backed 
core, and three small flakes were collected [at Ust- 
Popigay I] on a small hill on the high, right bank of the 
Khatanga River upstream from its confluence with the 

Popigay. Flinty slate, light brown and brown jasper- 
like rocks served as raw materials. Blades were used 
to manufacture a burin-on-a-break and micro insets 
similar to those found at Tagenar VI (Fig. 1 9: 1 4). Two 
blades have marginal dorsal retouch, which in one 
case forms a saw-like edge (Fig. 1 9:5, 6). 

At Labaz VI on Lake Labaz, two exhausted pris- 
matic cores and two core fragments were found, as 
well as one possible core preform made of a slab of 
flinty slate (Figs. 1 8: 1 ; 20: 1 , 6-8). Seventeen blades 
and three jasper flakes (similarto the jasperfrom the 
Bludnaya II site) were found associated with them. 
Labaz V and IX yielded blades and a prismatic core 
(cores were also found at Labaz VI), which date them 
to the Mesolithic or Neolithic. 

Blade industries discovered on the Khatanga River 
near Novorybnoye village persisted until the Late 
Bronze Age. The lithic technology found at these sites 
resembles that of sites from neighboring regions 
such as the basins of the Anabar and Olenek rivers. 
Endscrapers have not yet been found in the eastern 
part of Taymyr, and in general are absent from sites 
dating to the Mesolithic and Neolithic. 

/// Lithic artifacts from Novaya I (nos. 1 , 3); No- 
vaya IV (2); Novaya II (4, 5, 8); Khargy I (6); Novaya 
VI (7, 9); Samos (10). 



The prevalence of tools made from well-formed 
prismatic blades is typical for the Mesolithic and Early 
Neolithic sites of Siberia. Blade technology persisted 
in Taymyr until the Early Iron Age, although blade 
artifacts became rare by the Early Bronze Age and 
were replaced by bifacial tools. 

Characteristic of Taymyr Mesolithic sites is the 
use of flinty slate, and white, pink, yellow, and brown 
jasper. These materials were used to produce conical, 
prismatic, and flat-backed cores. Prismatic blades 
were used to make scrapers; insets with ventral 
retouch that aided insertion of the base into com- 
posite tools; saws and notched blades; burins-on-a- 
break; cutters; and arrowheads pointed at one end. 
As early as the Pre-ceramic period, blade arrowheads 
with sharpened bases and leaf-shaped arrowheads 
formed by marginal retouch began to appear. It is still 
unclear when the first stone arrowheads appeared 
in East Siberia. Only in the Angara region are "non- 
standard, but made by perfect retouch" arrowheads 
known, dating, undoubtedly, to the Late Mesolithic 
(Medvedev et al. 1 975:77). However, the appearance 

1 8/ Lithic artifacts from Labaz VI (no. 1); Novoryb- 
noye VI (2); Labaz III (3); Bludnaya II (4, 5). 

of arrowheads in the Late Mesolithic is characteristic 
of all Mesolithic cultures of East Siberia. 

Both Mesolithic and Neolithic tools analogous 
to those known from Taymyr and made of similar 
raw materials have been found east of Taymyr in 
the Anabar and Olenek River basins. At the same 
time, arrowheads from the Early Neolithic sites of 
Abylaakh and Khorbusuonka I were made on blades 
and have leaf-shaped outlines or prepared stems 
(Konstantinov 1970:38, 88, 89). The Early Neolithic 
date for the leaf-shaped arrowheads is confirmed by 
materials from Layer VII of the stratified Belkachi I site 
on the Aldan River, where leaf-shaped arrowheads 

/ 9/ Lithic artifacts from Novorybnoye l b (no. I ); 
Novaya VII (2); Bludnaya II (3): Novorybnoye II (4); 
Ust-Popigay I (5, 6, 14): Labaz II (7, 10): Labaz XI 
(8): Labaz I (9): Khargy III (1 I, 15): Labaz VIII (12, 



20/ Lithic artifacts from Labaz VI (nos. 1 , 2, 6-8); 
Labaz III (3, 4); Novorybnoye l-b (5). 

3 cm 

I I I I 

21 / Lithic artifacts from Novaya VII (no. 2); Novo- 
rybnoye VI (1 , 5): Ust-Popigay I (3); Khargy III (4). 

were recovered with net ceramics associated with 
the Syalakh culture (IVlochanov 1 970:table 15:1, 5). 
Pointed blades usually identified as perforators are 
found deeper in Layers IX and XI at the same site in 
a Sumnagin culture context. 

Compared to points from the Pyasina region, 
those from Belkachi are more diminutive. This is 
the case for almost the entire blade inventory from 
these layers, perhaps due to peculiarities of raw 
materials. Blade arrowheads, collected on a beach 
near Belkachi I (Mochanov 1969:55, tables 2:10, 1 1; 
1 6:1 , 4-6), are also similar to those from Pyasina and 
perhaps should be considered comparable to the 
Mesolithic levels of a Belkachi site in eastern Yakutia 
[Sakha Republic —Ed.]. Some of the Sumnagin points 
on blades probably served as arrowheads; the same 
may be true of points found at the upper Angara 
River valley sites in the Lake Baikal (Cape Bodun) and 
Trans-Baikal regions (Okladnikov 1 950c:figs. 1 5-1 7), 
in assemblages that directly precede Neolithic sites. 
Such points disappear with the appearance of stan- 
dardized forms. 

Based on typological comparisons, the Pyasina 
sites with points on blades should be considered 
Mesolithic. Other Taymyr sites noted above prob- 
ably date to the Mesolithic or the Early Neolithic, 
assuming that ceramics were not present or were not 
preserved and that some Mesolithic tools continue 
into the Early Neolithic. 

On the basis of the radiocarbon date forTagenar 
VI and typological comparisons of the Mesolithic and 
Early Neolithic Taymyr sites with cultures of adjacent 
areas, especially those of Yakutia, the Mesolithic of 
Taymyr probably dates to the fifth millennium B.C. 

Mesolithic Sites of Taymyr and 
the Siberian Forest Zone 

In order to determine the routes through which 
Mesolithic people entered the Taymyr subarctic 
region it is necessary to compare the Taymyr mate- 
rials with those from similar sites in the Siberian 
taiga zone. The search for similarities is facilitated 
by the fact that Mesolithic sites have not been 
found in the northern part of West Siberia adjacent 
to Taymyr, with the exception of Korchagi l-B. The 
western Siberian Mesolithic sites nearest to Taymyr 
are known only to the southwest, in such areas as 



Omsk [Chernoozeriye IVaand possibly Chernoozeriye 
II (Gening et al. 1973); Kurgan (Kamyshnoye site); 
and Sverdlovsk, where numerous sites have been 
discovered, among them Vyika II, Istok II, Krutiki I 
and II, Yurjino VI (Serikov and Arefyev 1 975; Serikov 
1976; Starkov 1 980;2 1 -36)]. Blades struck from 
prismatic and pencil-like cores, and tools made from 
these blades dominate the complexes of these sites. 
Tools include burins-on-a-break, pointed blades, side 
blades, and knives. Notched blades with lateral or end 
notches are also common. Endscrapers are rare, and 
the majority are made of flakes. Burins-on-a-break, 
ground celts, arrowheads, and diminutive trapezoids 
are represented only by single specimens. 

No significant differences are seen among 
materials from sites in the mid-Trans-Ural region, 
suggesting that a single Mesolithic culture existed 
throughout this region. Arrowheads and trapezoids 
are not typical, and their presence may be explained 
by the influence of the Yangelskaya culture of the 
southern Urals, where such tools are common 
(Matiushin 1964b, 1976). The inhabitants of the 
Middle Urals preferred to manufacture arrowheads 
of bone, such as those found in the Shigir peat bog, 
although it is possible that oblique points were also 
used as arrowheads (Matiushin 1969). In general, 
the Mesolithic sites of the Trans-Ural zone, with their 
characteristic tool kit, cannot be considered progeni- 
tors of the Taymyr Mesolithic. 

Nor do we find the roots of the Taymyr Mesolithic 
in the taiga of Middle Siberia. In part this is due to 
the fact that no Mesolithic sites have been identified 
in Evenkia. Furthermore, the Angara variant of the 
East Siberian Mesolithic is distributed through the 
forest zone of the Middle Yenisey, evident in the 
materials from Layers 3 though 1 7 of the Strizhovaya 
Gora site (Guliaev et al. 1 976; Medvedev 1 975) and 
from Levels VIII though XX of the Kazachka site on 
the Kan River. 

The Mesolithic of East Siberia seems to be com- 
posed of three distinct provinces: Angara, Trans- 
Baikal, and the Lena River. These provinces differ 

in their specific traditions probably as a result of 
individual culture histories and the peculiarities of 
local ecology, economy, and histor/. 

Thanks to the work of archaeologists from 
Irkutsk underthe leadership of G.I. Medvedev, many 
Mesolithic sites in the Angara region have been 
investigated in recent years, allowing us to outline 
the prehistory of the Angara Mesolithic (Medvedev 
1 968a, 1971; Medvedev et al. 1 975). Two groups of 
sites existed in the Angara Early Mesolithic; the Baday 
group associated with the local Palaeolithic, and the 
Verkholensko-ldinskaya group, which has roots in 
the Trans-Baikal region. 

The beginning of the Mesolithic is dated to about 
1 2,000 years ago. By the end of the Mesolithic, 8,000 
years ago, a new cultural complex developed through 
interaction between these two cultures. Sites of these 
complexes display rather monotonous inventories. If 
the first two stages of the development of the local 
Mesolithic are characterized by the use of macro- 
lithic tools and blade-focused industries (transverse 
burins, frontal cores, and a gradual increase in the 
percentage of wedge-like cores, a growth of the 
diversity of inset tools, the appearance of harpoons, 
fish-spears, bone fishhooks, adzes and hatchets, and 
multifaceted dihedral burins), then the final stage 
is characterized by polyhedral core-like burins and 
borers, points-on-blades, symmetrically notched 
adzes, ground slate points, bone points and fish- 
hook shanks, bifacial insets, and arrowheads. The 
materials of the Ust-Belaya site demonstrate the 
distinct Mesolithic economy of the Angara-Belsky 
region with its fishing and deer- and moose- (Alces 
alces) hunting focus. 

Blade points with lateral notches, resembling 
Kelteminar arrowheads, were found in burials in the 
Chastyye and Khinskaya Valleys, and in a great num- 
ber of Trans-Baikal sites (Debets 1930; Okladnikov 
1 950c;l 57-1 63). G.I. Medvedev, who studied 
use-wear on the Trans-Baikal points, came to the 
conclusion that they were not arrowheads, but rather 
borers and micro-burins (Medvedev 1968b). G.F. 



Korobkova, studying use-wear on arrowheads from 
Central Asia, found that they were used as borers 
as well as for other purposes (Korobkova 1 969: 1 1 4, 
fig. 1 7). Judging by the use-wear on the point from 
Lantoshka II, this tool was also used as a push plane 
and a knife. Usually arrowheads have no specific use- 
wear traces. Does this mean they did not also function 
as arrowheads when secondary use is present? We 
cannot abandon the idea that blade points with lateral 
notches from Trans-Baikal were arrowheads. In any 
case, they represent a striking feature of the blade 
industry of the region. G. F. Debets ascribed them to 
the Daurian Neolithic culture (Debets 1930). These 
observations have been confirmed in many respects 
by the excavations of the stratified Studenoye site 
near the village of Nizhny Narym (Konstantinov 
and Nemerov 1 976), where arrowheads with lateral 
notches were associated with ceramics. Choppers 
found with these distinctive arrowheads demonstrate 
that many Mesolithic traits persisted into the Early 
Neolithic. Mesolithic layers also contained blade 
artifacts associated with pebble tools. The presence 
of Gobi-type cores and bone fishhooks is worthy 
of special note. Arrowheads were not found in the 
deeper levels of Studenoye. 

Daurian points have not yet been recovered 
from stratified contexts that could demonstrate a 
Mesolithic association. Thus, the Khinskie burials 
of West Baikal may not date to the Late Mesolithic. 
Rather, they may be evidence of westward human 
migration from east of Baikal. Based on their inven- 
tory, these burials may belong to the Trans-Baikal 
Early Neolithic and so may represent the western 
penetration of a Trans-Baikal population. However, 
the absence of Daurian points at Mesolithic sites, 
taking into account the rarity of the latter in Trans- 
Baikal, does not mean that these points did not exist 
in the Late Mesolithic. 

Recent publications describe materials from 
Trans-Baikal Mesolithic sites (Kirillov and Rizhskii 
1 972; Konstantinov and Nemerov 1 976; Okladnikov 
1 971 a). Although this period requires further study. 

it is possible to identify some of its notable and char- 
acteristic features; extended coexistence of pebble 
tools and choppers with tools made from blades; 
Gobi cores; large sub-triangular points on blades; 
and large sidescrapers, transverse burins, and bone 

A number of sites have been located on the 
shores of Lake Baikal (Goriunova 1978; Khiobystin 
1965; Shmygun and Endrikhinskii 1978) dating to 
the Early Mesolithic (Ludarskaya I, III, Kuria I, III, VI), 
and to its final stage as seen in the lower layers of 
Ulan-Khada, Sagan-Nuge, and Layers VII through IX 
at Iterkhei. In addition to a characteristic assemblage 
(for example, drill cores and Baikal-type fishing hooks 
made of slate), the materials from these sites com- 
bine features of the Angara Mesolithic with those of 
the Trans-Baikal region. Thus, Baikal may be the zone 
of contact between Angara and Trans-Baikal. 

Among the artifacts of the Trans-Baikal region, 
Daurian points are of great interest due to their 
similarity to points from Taymyr. Some specimens 
(Debets 1930;table VII; Okladnikov 1950c:fig. 17) 
are identical to FVasina points in shape and treat- 
ment, such that they could be assigned directly to 
Trans-Baikal if not for the vast territory of Evenkia 
and Yakutia [Sakha Republic] separating Taymyr 
from Baikal. 

Yakutia may be identified as the third province of 
the East Siberian Mesolithic. The Sumnagin culture 
existed here during the Early Holocene (Mochanov 
1969, 1973a, b, 1977). Stratified Sumnagin assem- 
blages are found in southeastern Yakutia on the 
Aldan River, a major tributary of the Lena. These 
sites include Belkachi I, Sumnagin I, and Ust-Timpton. 
Sumnagin sites are also known from the Olekma, 
Amga, Maya, Ulya, Vitim, Vilyui, Indigirka, and Kolyma 
rivers. Radiocarbon dates indicate this culture existed 
between 1 0,074 ± 1 00 B.P. (LE 861 , Ust-Timpton) and 
5,900 ± 70 B.P. (LE 678; Belkachi I, Layer VIII), i.e., 
from the middle of the ninth to the end of the fifth 
to sixth millennium B.P. (Mochanov and Fedoseeva 
1 975a; Mochanov et al. 1 970). 



An abundance of blades is characteristic of the 
Sumnagin industry. These blades were used for 
manufacturing endscrapers and sidescrapers, burins- 
on-a-break and transverse burins and cutters, knives 
and insets, and blades with oblique edges and points. 
The blades were struck from prismatic, pencil-like 
cores. A small percentage of tools is composed of 
sidescrapers and adzes and axes made from pebbles. 
Multifaceted burin-drills have also been recovered. 
Flaked adzes and pebble plummets appeared during 
the late stages of Sumnagin cultural development. 
Ground and bifacially retouched stone tools are 
absent from Sumnagin sites. The other characteristics 
of the culture, which, during the early Holocene was 
characterized by a microlithic blade-focused industry, 
are typical for the majority of Mesolithic cultures. 

Searching for the roots of Sumnagin culture, 
Mochanov originally thought it was connected with 
yet-unidentified cultures of Yakutia (Mochanov 
1969:141). Now that Dyuktai Palaeolithic sites have 
been discovered, Mochanov has concluded that 
there are no connections between Sumnagin and 
Dyuktai (Mochanov 1970:63); that "the Sumnagin 
people were descendants of one of 'the western' 
Palaeolithic populations from the Yenisey region" 
(Mochanov 1 973b); and that "the Sumnagin culture, 
judging by its appearance, is genetically linked 
with the Malta-Afontovo cultural group" (Mochanov 
1 973b:42). Astakhov shared the conviction that the 
Yenisey region was the homeland of the Sumnagin 
culture (Astakhov 1973:195). To some extent this 
hypothesis springs from the similarities between the 
Sumnagin culture and the Upper Palaeolithic sites of 
the Yenisey region (Mochanov 1 969:1 40). 

The absence of continuity between Dyuktai cul- 
ture and Sumnagin and the search for the origins of 
Sumnagin in southern Siberia require an examination 
of the formation of blade-focused Mesolithic indus- 
tries characteristic of taiga cultures. In Eastern Europe 
and West Siberia, the manufacture of tools on blades 
was common as early as the Upper Palaeolithic. The 
general opinion is that southern Middle and East 

Siberian pebble tool cultures with occasional blade 
artifacts existed during the Upper Palaeolithic and 
Mesolithic and that blade-dominated assemblages 
appeared only in the Late Mesolithic. Therefore 
Sumnagin sites, such as the second levels of Kuria 
III and VI on the north shore of Lake Baikal, seem to 
appear suddenly. Admittedly, there are some Upper 
Palaeolithic sites in the Angara region (Malta, Krasny 
Yar), that have yielded materials that suggest the 
possible development a blade-focused industry. The 
Early Mesolithic evidence indicates that a macrolithic 
tradition persisted, although the percentage of mac- 
rolithic tools is small, and at the Strizhovaya Gora site 
on the Kan River, which dates to the Early Mesolithic, 
pebble tools are absent. 

On the Middle Yenisey, Layer B of the Ust-Biryusa 
site was considered to be a typical Mesolithic site. 
Materials from this layer are similar in many respects 
to the artifacts from the underlying Upper Palaeolithic 
layer (Layer C), which resemble materials of the 
Afontovo culture (Gurina 1964; Khiobystin 1972b). 
However, cryogenic soil evidence forces us to date 
Layer B to the end of the Sartan Epoch and to assign 
its assemblage to the Upper Palaeolithic. The dating 
of this layer was recently done by Tseitlin (1 979). 

Thanks to the work of Abramova (1 979a, b), the 
Palaeolithic Kokorevo culture has been identified in 
the Minusinsk depression. Unlike the coeval Afontovo 
culture, in the Kokorevo culture, blade tools outnum- 
ber macrolithic artifacts such as pebble tools and 
large sidescrapers. Bone and antler artifacts, which 
were used for darts and daggers in which microblade 
insets were inserted, are also notable. Microblade 
insets and microblades were also found at Afontovo 
sites (Abramova 1979a; Khiobystin 1972b). Bone 
artifacts with grooves found at the Oshurkovo site 
demonstrate that this type of tool also occurred in 
the Trans-Baikal region. Oshurkovo dates to the 
end of the Palaeolithic— to the very beginning of the 
Mesolithic. Clearly the foundations for blade-focused 
Mesolithic cultures existed in the Upper Palaeolithic 
of southern Siberia. 



Ecological changes during the Pleistocene- 
Holocene transition resulted in a transformation of 
subsistence resources, which led to the development 
of composite tools with blade inserts. The reorienta- 
tion of the hunting economy, which became focused 
on steppe and forest-steppe ungulates (judging by 
the palynological evidence, which needs further 
chronological definition, suggesting that a cold 
steppe vegetation probably prevailed in most of the 
Minusinsk depression, on the Krasnoyarsko-Kanskaya 
steppe, and in the Trans-Baikal region during the 
Early Holocene) forced Mesolithic groups to lead a 
more mobile way of life and to employ a lighter tool- 
kit, resulting in the abandonment of macrolithic tools. 
The latest contribution to studies of the Siberian 
Mesolithic (Lisitsyn 1980) has shown that the role 
of blade technology increased steadily, especially at 
sites in the steppe zone, where inhabitants inherited 
the Kokorevo traditions. 

Similar processes were at work in the Trans- 
Baikal region (Konstantinov 1979). In both areas 
descendants of the indigenous Palaeolithic popula- 
tion continued to manufacture small quantities of 
pebble tools. But those groups that began to move 
toward northern Siberia at the very beginning of the 
Holocene were forced to abandon many old traditions 
and to adopt blade industries. This is probably how 
the Sumnagin culture appeared. If this culture had 
its roots in the Palaeolithic of the Yenisey, the bear- 
ers of the local Yenisey traditions, i.e., ancestors of 
the Sumnagin people, had to go through the Angara 
region and the Upper Lena, where their settlements 
date to the final stage of the Palaeolithic— i.e., the 
beginning of the Mesolithic. The origins of the 
Sumnagin culture will probably be found at these 
sites. However, such sites have not yet been identi- 
fied. Baikal sites, such as Kuria I, III, and VI, have blade 
industries that are considered to be the beginning 
of the Mesolithic of Yakutia, so the origin of these 
developments remains unclear. 

Similar features can be noted in comparing 
Sumnagin assemblages with material from Mesolithic 

and Neolithic sites of the Trans-Baikal region. The 
source of the microblade industry is the wedge- 
shaped core of the Trans-Baikal Palaeolithic, which 
was gradually replaced by prismatic cores. Bone inset 
points from the Oshurkovo site demonstrate that 
composite tools with bone hafts and insets made 
of microblades existed in the Trans-Baikal region 
(Mochanov sees such tools only on the Yenisey River). 
There are also flaked axes and adzes resembling 
Sumnagin tools on Trans-Baikal sites. So far, the 
entire blade industry characteristic of the Sumnagin 
culture is represented to a greater or lesser degree 
among the Trans-Baikal finds. In particular, I would 
note the similarity between the Trans-Baikal points 
made from blades with those of Yakutia. Some types 
represented in the blade industry of the Trans- 
Baikal region for example, arrowheads with lateral 
notches are absent from the Sumnagin materials; 
however, these tools appeared late and probably 
in the final stage of the Late Mesolithic, after the 
divergence of the Mesolithic of Yakutia from the 
Trans-Baikal Early Mesolithic. 

Sumnagin peoples could have penetrated Yakutia 
via the Vitim and Olekma basins from Trans-Baikal. 
Environmental changes at the Pleistocene-Holocene 
transition forced hunting groups to alter their hunt- 
ing strategies and to adjust to the fauna of new 
biotic communities. In the Angara and Trans-Baikal 
regions local economies began to focus on fishing 
and roe deer hunting. Sites became seasonal, and 
human groups became more mobile, exploiting new 
territories in search of prey. In the taiga areas of 
Yakutia, Sumnagin peoples who occupied territories 
vacated by the Dyuktai population focused mainly on 
hunting moose {Alces alces). The Sumnagin culture 
developed in the forests of the upper Lena Basin, and 
from there Sumnagin peoples reached the Anabar 
and Olenek watersheds and eventually penetrated 
Taymyr through the North Siberian lowlands. 

The blade assemblages of the Tagenar and 
Pyasina sites are quite similar to the inventories of 
Sumnagin sites. Points from Pyasina III, Lantoshka 



II and Malaya Korennaya III are analogous to points 
from Belkachi I, where, unfortunately, their context 
is unclear, although they probably belong to the 
upper portion of the Sumnagin levels. The greatest 
similarity is between the assemblage from Tagenar 
VI and tools from Layers X through XX at Belkachi 
I. The notable feature of the Tagenar complex is 
the distinctive treatment of microblade insets using 
steep retouch. Layers X though IX at Belkachi I date 
between 6,750 ± 70 (LE 698) and 5,900 ± 70 (LE 
678) and agree with the radiocarbon date obtained 
for Tagenar VI: 6,020 ± 1 00 B.P. (LE 884). 

The chronological and typological similarities 
between the Aldan and Taymyr sites attest to a cul- 
tural unity between these areas, which are separated 
by several thousand kilometers, and which, in turn. 

can be considered an indication of kinship of their 
corresponding human groups. 

Another fact demonstrates connections between 
the Mesolithic of Taymyr and northern Yakutia. The 
petrographic analysis of flinty slate, from which 
most blades from Pyasina I are made (determined by 
analysis carried out by N.B. Selivanova), has shown 
that this material is ver/ similar to flinty slate from the 
Buolkalaakh and Sappyn sites, between the Anabar 
and Olenek rivers. The flinty slate used by inhabit- 
ants of FVasina was probably mined from deposits 
in northwest Yakutia. Probably, the first inhabitants 
of Taymyr, who must have come from the east, 
retained connections with the people living between 
the Khatanga and the Lena and continued to obtain 
raw materials from this region. 



22/ Kapchug Lake in the midst of the Putorana Mountains, southern Taymyr, 1997. Photographer Vladimir 

]"he "yiatjmtjr [Njeolithic 

The Taymyr polar zone, as well as the adjacent 
regions of Siberia, was part of the area occupied by 
Ago-Neolithic cultures. [See Chapter 1 for Khiobystin's 
rationale for this usage for a non-food-producing 
Neolithic, often expressed in other archaeological 
contexts as "Epi-Neolithic." —Ed.] Actually, cultures 
with food-producing economies appeared here only 
in the Iron Age. Therefore, while the term "Neolithic" 
will be used in the following discussion, we speak of 
cultures that are "Ago-Neolithic." 

Early Holocene East Siberia and far northeastern 
Asia can be considered a discrete historical and 
cultural region because here the transition to the 
Neolithic is associated with the formation of cul- 
tures using "net" ceramics— a kind of earthenware 
decorated with small-mesh net impressions. In other 
parts of Siberia and the Far East, the Early Neolithic 
is characterized by other types of ceramics. Taymyr, 
due to its geographical position, hydrographic and 
orographic systems, and because northern West 
Siberia was sparsely populated, had closer historical 
connections with East Siberia. In the Early Neolithic, as 
we shall see, Taymyr became part of the East Siberian 
cultural-historical community. 

The Early Neolithic 

In 1967 and 1968, occupational evidence left by 
some of the first Neolithic inhabitants of Taymyr was 
discovered during excavation of the lower portions 
of the Abylaakh I site— one of the most interesting 
sites in Taymyr. In addition to Early Neolithic artifacts, 

this site yielded materials dating to the Bronze Age 
(see Chapter 3). 

Abylaakh I is situated on the right bank of the 
Kheta River, 1 7 kilometers upstream from the pres- 
ent village of Katyryk, where the Abylaakh River flows 
into the Kheta. Here a long, narrow terrace projection 
1 5 meters high and 1 5 to 20 meters wide stretches 
west-northwest for about 120 meters. The site is 
located about a hundred meters from the river banks 
at the widest, flatest portion of the promontory (Fig. 
23). The elevated bank of the Kheta is overgrown 
with larch, Labrador tea, or Ledum, and dwarf birch. 
Although this region is 500 kilometers north of the 
Arctic Circle, the vegetation is surprisingly dense and 
the trees are quite large. 

The excavation (Fig. 24) encompassed 1 25 square 
meters, about one-third of the prime area for pre- 
historic settlement along the northern edge of the 
cape facing the Abylaakh Valley. The shape of the 
excavation area was determined by the distribution 
of finds as well as the location of trees. The stratig- 
raphy (Fig. 25) was fairly uniform throughout the 
excavated area. Under the turf layer, which consisted 
of a level of gray humic sand (2 to 1 2 cm thick), a 
yellowish sandy loam (2 to 1 5 cm thick) was mixed 
with brown-gray loam or sandy loam. These layers 
were disturbed by numerous cryogenic deformations 
that caused partial redeposition of cultural remains. 
Two large frost wedges began at the surface near 
a pit-like depression that was 25 to 30 centimeters 
deep and 0.9 by 1 .1 meters in diameter, located in 


50 cm 

1 IZZl- 2IZZI- 3IIZI- 4IZZI- 5(^- 6-^- 7 °-8 

25/ Stmtigraphic profiles of Abylaakh I. Legend: 1 = upper soil (turf); 2 = mottled soil; 3 = yellow sand; 4 = 
red, sandy soil; 5 = gray-brown loamy soil; 6 = charcoal lenses; 7 = root system of a larch tree; 8 = rocks. 


the western part of the excavation in Sections 60 
and 82. Another large wedge of ice, as much as 40 
centimeters wide, crossed the central part of the 
excavation from south to north. These wedges cut 
through the cultural layers and extended into the 
underlying loam. Apparently the disturbance caused 
by hearths resulted in the formation of frost wedges 
as soon as the settlement was abandoned. Cultural 
remains were recovered in the yellow loam layer, but 
were also found in the turf level. Occasionally frost 
wedges were responsible for cultural materials being 
transported into the otherwise sterile loam. 

Typology, depth, and stratigraphy facilitated 
sorting the Abylaakh I assemblage into two 
chronologically distinct complexes. The earlier 
complex includes ceramics decorated with net 
impressions and blade tools. Net ceramics are not 
numerous— only fourteen sherds were recovered- 
making it difficult to reconstruct vessel form. Only 
a single small rim fragment enables us to infer that 
the vessel to which it belonged was a small (1 3 cm in 
diameter) pot with a closed, miter-like form [shaped 
like a bishop's cap]. The rim is flat and projects 
inwards. Beginning one centimeter below the rim the 
vessel is decorated with a row of small, round pits 
about five millimeters in diameter. 

The sherds have abundant crushed fired clay 
inclusions [grog] and small angular pieces are easily 
observed in breaks. The sherds are well-fired and 
dark brown or sometimes reddish in color; however, 
preservation is poor and the sherds crumble easily 
as a result of the grog temper. Although poor 
preservation is characteristic of arctic ceramics in 
general due to low firing temperature, the grog 
admixture was especially unsuited to the severe 
climatic conditions of East Siberia and the Subarctic. 
Perhaps this is why people began to use hair as 
temper for earthenware paste at a later date. 

Vessels ware coated with a clay slip on the inside 
and outside, making the body appear to have three 
layers. Sherd thickness varies from 5 to 8 millimeters. 
Rims were widened by adding extra clay. The inner 

surface is smooth, while the exterior body surface 
is covered with small-mesh net impressions from 
the base to the rim. Pit-like impressions made by 
small knots and imprints of thin sinew from which 
the net was woven can be clearly seen. Some sherds 
display impressions of rhomboid-shaped mesh. 
The size of diagonals (8 by 10 mm or 4 by 7 mm) 
indicates that game bags rather than fishing nets, 
or nets woven specifically for ceramic production, 
were used. The rather shallow impressions of the 
line and the unsystematic arrangement of pits left 
by small knots demonstrate that in this case nets 
were not frameworks inside of which vessels were 
molded, but rather served to decorate the surfaces 
of the pots after the pots were modeled but before 
they were fired. 

This use of nets in manufacturing vessels reflects 
the older tradition of modeling vessels in net bags 
that has been documented for the Isakovo vessels 
from the Baikal region (Okladnikov 1 950c:l 70-1 71). 
Despite adopting a new technique to form pots, 
the ancient potters of East Siberia nevertheless 
retained the custom of making net impressions on 
the surfaces of their vessels. Sherds of net ceramics 
were recovered primarily in the eastern portion of 
the excavation area, in the lower part of the yellow 
layer bordering the brown-gray or sandy loam. In 
Section 1 1 3, a sherd with net impressions was found 
associated with blades [Khiobystin's use of 'blade' 
and 'knife-like blade' generally signifies a parallel- 
sided blade struck from a prismatic core. —Ed.] 
beneath a small Bronze Age hearth. 

Stone artifacts associated with net ceramics were 
distributed over the excavation area in a different 
manner. These materials were found mainly in the 
western part of the excavation in a strip that crossed 
adjoining squares from north to south. Almost all 
blades came from the lower part of the cultural layer. 
This was especially clear in the pit-like depression in 
the layer of yellowish sandy loam (Sections 60 and 
82) where blades lay on the bottom separated from 
upper finds by a sterile sand lens. Close to this pit, in 



the lower part of the yellow layer, a blade core made 
of light jasper (Fig. 26:8) and a large endscraper 
of the same material were found (Fig. 26:10). The 
latter was made on a thick flake whose ventral side 
was retouched with several flaking blows, whereas 
the dorsal surface retained the primary cortex. 
Although this tool resembles a hump-backed, left- 
sided endscraper, it is actually a round scraper, 
since it has steep retouch around its entire edge, 
and all edges were intensively utilized. Originally this 
scraperwas used to process soft materials, probably 
skins, because its edges are rounded smoothly and 
have use-wear striations. Later, one edge of the tool 
was used to scrape hard material, possibly wood, 
resulting in the formation of small scars. This scraper 
differs considerably in its form and use from the 
stemmed endscrapers that are frequently associated 
with waffle-ribbed ceramics from the upper layers 
of the site. 

Three small, leaf-shaped arrowheads made 
on blades were found at the same location in the 
lower level, northeast of the depression. One jasper 
arrowhead was intact (Fig. 26:1). A fragment of 
another arrowhead, found in neighboring Section 
92 with both ends broken, was made of gray flinty 
slate (Fig. 26:2). The third arrowhead, made on a 
blade of light jasper, is missing its base (Fig. 26:3). 
These arrowheads have been shaped by small sloping 
retouch from the ventral surface. Only the points of 
the artifacts are retouched from the dorsal surface. 
The hafted part retains the bulb of percussion. 

Burins made on breaks were also manufactured 
from light-colored jasper blades (Fig. 26:4-7). Three 
of these have shortened proportions. The fourth is 
made on a blade that once served as a knife, and its 
edges bear traces of use-wear. 

Six blades were retouched in a way that suggests 
they were mounted as composite tools (Fig. 26:1 1 -1 6). 
These blade insets are made of light jasper and 
flinty slate. One of the insets was associated with a 
net-impressed sherd under Hearth 6 in Section 1 1 3; 
another was found at the bottom of the depression 

in Section 60. A fragment of a blade, found in the 
lowermost part of the yellow layer in Section 50 
under Hearth 3, can be classified as a blade inset. 
This blade, removed from a core of gray flinty slate, 
was retouched from the ventral surface, removing 
the incurving bend in the lower end of the blade 
and making it serviceable as a knife, as evidenced by 
edge damage (Fig. 26:9). Other blades were used in a 
similar manner but without additional retouch. 

A number of artifacts similar to the upper level 
finds were recovered from the lower part of the 
cultural deposits [due to cryoturbation]. These 
include steep-backed and hump-backed endscrapers; 

26/ Lithic artifacts from the lower cultural layer 
of Abylaakh I. 



thin, bifacially retouched perforators; and triangular 
arrowheads with straight bases— all generally made 
of chalcedony. Based on appearance and material 
type (light jasper), another tool can be assigned to the 
upper-level assemblage: a massive flake, triangular 
in cross-section, that resembles small Mousterian 
handaxes in some respects. However, it was used 
as a crude perforator or reamer. 

A hammerstone also belongs to this complex. 
This artifact is a large flattened pebble of fine-grained 
quartz; the ends bear traces of utilization. The 
hammerstone was found in gray sandy loam beneath 
a fire-reddened spot that, judging from associated 
finds, dates to the Bronze Age. 

No traces of hearths were identified in the layer 
associated with the earliest settlement at Abylaakh I, 
except for small sooty spots in the lower part of the 
yellow layer. Accumulations of small pebbles were 
found in the gray sandy loam between Sections 5 and 
9. Because such stones were not found in the subsoil, 
these accumulations were probably anthropogenic. 

Only the finds from the lower cultural deposits 
and those that differ typologically from the upper 
level (Bronze Age) complex have been assigned 
to the earlier complex, which is characterized by 
artifacts on blades and by use of light jasper (as at 
the Mesolithic site of Tagenar VI) and dark gray flinty 
slate, which is typical for the Pyasina sites dating 
from the Mesolithic through the Early Neolithic. This 
pattern of raw material use is characteristic of early 
Taymyr sites and has been documented at another 
early Neolithic site, Glubokoe I. 

Glubokoe I is located in southwestern Taymyr, 
more than 400 kilometers from Abylaakh and is 
situated on the shore of Lake Glubokoye at the 
foot of the northwestern slope of the Putorana 
Plateau. The site was discovered in 1973 when the 
Polar Expedition undertook a survey around Lakes 
Melkoye, Glubokoye, Sobachiye, and Lama. These 
lakes are of recent origin, and fill canyon-like hollows 
between mountains up to 1000 meters. The lakes 
are linked by rivers full of rapids. Taiga forests 

predominate at the foot of the mountains while the 
uplands have tundra vegetation. Such vegetation has 
persisted in this region since the Atlantic Period, when 
the mountains were freed of glacial ice. The lakes are 
rich in fish, but the reindeer and mountain sheep 
that graze here occur only in small herds, making 
them difficult to hunt. The ecology of this lake area 
differs considerably from the part of the Kheta Valley 
where the Abylaakh I site is located. In the Atlantic 
Period, when forest vegetation reached its maximum 
northern distribution, the vegetation differences 
between Abylaakh I and Glubokoe I were probably 
minimal and less than they are at present. 

Glubokoe I is located on a 20-meter-high steep- 
fronted terrace that forms a promontory where the 
southern shore of Lake Glubokoye intersects the west 
mouth of the Badikha River. The site is separated from 
the lake by a wide band of low-lying land. Artifacts 
were distributed over a small, level section on the lake 
side of the terrace. The excavation area (21 square 
meters) covered the entire main area of the site. A 
child's burial, probably left by Dolgan people, the 
ethnographic occupants of this region, was identified, 
and we discovered that the excavation of this grave 
had disturbed the earlier cultural deposits. 

The stratigraphy is generally uniform, although 
with some cryogenic deformation. A 3-centimeter- 
thick level of light brown sandy loam containing 
charcoal spots lies under a humic layer 6 to 1 
centimeters deep. The sandy loam turns into a dark 
brown cultural layer 1 to 5 centimeters thick, with 
charcoal stains and lenses indicative of hearths. 
Below this, the light brown sandy loam reappears, 
underlain, 20 centimeters from the surface, by a dark 
brown sandy loam with pebbles. 

Four hearths were identified within the cultural 
layer, at slightly different levels. Three hearths 
are located in the upper portion of the cultural 
layer, and one in the lower portion, suggesting 
some chronological difference between them. Slow 
sedimentation within the cultural zone makes it 
difficult to divide the finds purely on the basis of 



stratigraphy; however, by combining tool typology 
and depth it is possible to some extent to divide the 
collection into complexes. 

Directly under the turf layer we recovered metal 
artifacts, including a well-preserved iron knife dating 
to the early centuries A.D. The stone inventory and 
ceramics generally occurred at a depth of 1 3 to 
18 centimeters from the surface in a humus- and 
charcoal-stained layer near the hearths. A number 
of typologically earlier artifacts lay under this 
layer in light brown sandy loam. Stratigraphy and 
typology allow these artifacts to be divided into 
two complexes. One should attribute to the upper 
complex two blades with marginal ventral retouch 
that served as insets. 

These blades (Fig. 27:8, 9) lay beneath one 
of the hearths in light brown sandy loam, which 
also contained a burin-on-a-break (Fig. 27:3). A 
leaf-shaped arrowhead made from a prismatic blade, 
a burin-on-a-break, four endscrapers, and a blade 
inset with its ventral surface covered completely by 

retouch (Fig. 27:1 , 2, 4-7, 1 0), all found in the lower 
part of the cultural layer, belong to this complex also. 
Another burin-on-a-break (Fig. 27:12) and a blade 
worked by ventral retouch, shaped like a stem (Fig. 
27:1 1 ), may also be part of this complex. However, 
a burin and a blade found in the upper part of the 
cultural layer are typologically more similar to finds 
from the lower layer. 

There are a few flakes and blades at the site, 
and most of the flakes are small. Sixty-eight flakes 
and twenty-three blades were recovered from the 
upper part of the cultural deposits, and thirty-nine 
flakes and twenty-two blades were found in the lower 
complex. The presence of prepared blades combined 
with such a small amount of debitage indicates that 
tools were rarely manufactured at the site. This is 
confirmed by the character of the raw materials. 
The flinty rocks most commonly used are diverse 
in composition and are generally represented by 
single flakes. Sixty-eight flakes of gray-green flinty 
slate predominate. Only two tools are made of this 

27/ Lithic artifacts from Clubokoe I. Nos. I-IO are from the lower level; nos. 1 1-20 are from the upper 



slate— a burin-on-a-break and an endscraper— and 
both were found in the lower level. 

The lower part of the cultural deposits revealed 
ceramic body sherds and the base of a small round 
vessel. The diameter of the mid-section of the vessel 
was about 1 5 centimeters. Body sherd fragments 
were also found in the upper half of the deposits. 
Their surfaces were covered with cord impressions, 
and near the bottom of the vessel the impressions 
of a large-mesh net have been preserved. This net 
was woven from thick cord, and its rhomboid-shaped 
cells have diagonals measuring 1 by 1 .5 centimeters 
in size. The thickness of the walls is between 3 and 
7 millimeters. The sherds are dark brown in color 
and the earthenware paste contains an admixture 
of coarse-grained sand. Unfortunately, the upper 
part of this vessel has not been found, hindering 
its reconstruction. Judging by its lower portion, the 
vessel was round bottomed and miter-like in shape. 

In summary, the complexes originating in the 
lower layers of Abylaakh I and Glubokoe I contain 
similar sets of tools, including blades, leaf-shaped 
arrowheads, and small vessels decorated with "net" 

impressions. Other similarities are evident in raw 
materials. These features are also characteristic of 
sites such as Pyasina VII and VIII. 

FVasina VIII is situated on the right bank of the 
FVasina River 77 kilometers from its source. Sherds 
of thick-walled (7 to 8 mm), cord-impressed ceramics 
were recovered in the course of clearing a brownish 
humus layer 10 centimeters below the surface. 
These ceramics resemble the vessel from Glubokoe I. 
Blades of flinty slate and pinkish jasper and a slightly 
damaged endscraper of the same jasper were 
associated with the sherds (Fig. 28:8). On the basis of 
raw materials found in situ, we were able to identify 
surface finds belonging to the same cultural context, 
including two other endscrapers made on flakes of 
the same raw material; an endscraper on the end of 
a blade of flinty slate; a fragment of an arrowhead 
made from a blade of pink jasper with marginal 
retouch; and a blade retouched into what appears to 
be an arrowhead (Fig. 28:10, 11, 20, 6, 2). 

A sherd similar to those recovered at FVasina VIII 
was found on an island at FVasina VII, 3 kilometers 
upstream from Pyasina VIII. Materials from these sites 

28/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina VIII. 



differ from those of Mesolithic sites of Taymyr only by 
the presence of ceramics, endscrapers on flakes, and 
the shape of arrowheads. If ceramics were absent, the 
lithic inventory would be attributed to the Mesolithic. 
The continuity in the lithics sen/es to prove that the 
emergence of the Taymyr Early Neolithic did not result 
from the arrival of a new population bearing a different 
culture. Rather, it represents the development of 
the culture of indigenous Mesolithic inhabitants of 
Taymyr who adopted ceramic technology from their 
southern neighbors. 

Net ceramics appeared in the southern part of 
East Siberia in the fifth millennium B.C. and quickly 
diffused. By the fourth millennium, they were being 
manufactured throughout East Siberia, including 
the Chukotka Peninsula. As this technology spread 
among Mesolithic peoples, the lithic inventory of the 
Early Neolithic retained many features characteristic 
of Mesolithic cultures. According to radiocarbon 
dates, which fall between 5970 ± 70 B.P. (LE 676) and 
4760 ± 60 (LE 736), the Syalakh culture of Yakutia, 
which replaced the Mesolithic Sumnagin culture, can 
be dated to the fourth millennium B.C. (Mochanov 
and Fedoseeva 1 975a). The most striking 'Neolithic' 
feature of Syalakh sites is the presence of ceramics, 
typically miter-shaped pots with net-impressed 
surfaces, decorated with a belt of pits located 
slightly below their thickened rims. Sometimes 
there is an appliqued band decorated with incisions 
that is attached to the upper part of the pots. The 
lithic inventory retains Mesolithic characteristics, as 
evidenced by tools made of blades (burins-on-breaks, 
endscrapers) that continue to be widely used. Thin, 
leaf-shaped arrowheads appear. Another innovation 
is bifacially worked tools made on massive flakes, as 
well as ground axes and adzes. 

In the Baikal region, the early Neolithic is repre- 
sented by the Isakovo culture, which replaced the 
Khin sites of the Late Mesolithic. The ceramics of 
this culture are the "net" type. There are no reliable 
radiocarbon dates for the Isakovo culture, but it is 
probably coeval with the Kitoy culture which, judging 

by the burials in the Kitoy burial ground (i.e., Grave 
#13) and on Bourhan Cape (Olhon Island at Lake 
Baikal), is also characterized by net ceramics. There 
are two dates for the Kitoy culture: 5720 ± 50 B.P. 
(LE 1 076) and 6550 ± 35 (SOAN 790). 

Typological comparison of materials from 
adjacent areas of northwestern Yakutia (the Anabar 
and Olenek Basins), where Syalakh materials come 
from multicomponent Aldan sites, indicates some 
similarity between the sites of these regions and 
hence the possibility that the Syalakh culture may 
have penetrated far to the northwest. The Neolithic 
transition in Taymyr may be connected with the 
influence of this culture. In fact, the Abylaakh I 
and Glubokoe I materials are very similar to the 
materials from Early Neolithic sites of the Olenek 
and the Middle Lena. Net ceramics, along with tools 
on blades, including arrowheads, have been found 
at Abynalaakh and Khorbusuonka I on the banks of 
the Olenek River (Konstantinov 1 970:83, 91 ). 

The Syalakh culture sites of Evenkia could also be 
a source of the Neolithic influences on Taymyr. The 
Early Neolithic is well represented in Evenkia at the 
Tura I site, which is situated on the Lower (Nizhnyaya) 
Tunguska River (Andreev and Studzitskaia 1968:1 53; 
1969:207). Numerous tools made on blades 
(endscrapers, burins-on-breaks, cutters, insets, etc.) 
were found here in association with net ceramics and 
typical Neolithic tools. There is an arrowhead among 
these finds that was made from a blade by pointing 
its ends with the aid of ventral retouch. Typologically, 
the inventory of this site is more similar to the mate- 
rials of the Isakovo and Serovo cultures of the Baikal 
region than to Syalakh materials. 

Therefore, the ceramic traditions that penetrated 
Taymyr may originate from different sources 
associated with the two main routes of entry into the 
peninsula: from Evenkia through the Yenisey Valley 
and the Kotuy River, and from Yakutia through the 
North Siberian lowlands. This idea is conjectural 
at this point, since the early Neolithic cultures of 
Evenkia and Yakutia are similar in many respects 



and have not been sufficiently studied to determine 
regional differences. Given the peculiarity of the 
Early Neolithic assemblages of the Upper Viluy River 
(Fedoseeva 1970b:67), differences will eventually 
be identified. 

The Early Neolithic sites in Taymyr belong to 
an independent culture, although they are linked 
genetically to the local Mesolithic. This culture 
may be called Glubokozerskaya after the site on 
Lake Glubokoye and is part of the widespread 
Early Neolithic cultural community of northern East 

Thanks to joint efforts of archaeologists and 
physicists, we now know that there were several 
centers where people learned independently to make 
ceramic vessels. One was probably the southernmost 
of the four main Japanese islands— Kyushu island. 
The earliest ceramics were found at Fukui Cave in 
a stratum radiocarbon dated to 12,700 ± 500. The 
ceramics from a second layer were dated to 1 2,400 
± 350 (Chard and Morlan 1 970:1 1 7, 11 8, 1 26; Ikawa 
1964:99, 100). Therefore, the origin of the ceramic 
Jomon culture dates to the end of the Pleistocene. 
Spreading north across Honshu Island, ceramics 
reached Hokkaido about the seventh millennium 
B.C. (Oda and Kelly 1975). West Asia was another 
independent center for the invention of ceramics, 
which occurred about the same time in Syria and Asia 
Minor and in Iran and Iraq. Here the earliest ceramics 
date to the seventh millennium B.C. 

Each of these centers had its own particular 
ceramic technology. The presence of "net" ceramics is 
indicative of the independent origins of earthenware 
in East Siberia. Net ceramics first appeared somewhere 
in southern East Siberia and spread quickly to 
neighboring areas. During the fourth millennium B.C. 
these ceramics were being manufactured throughout 
East Siberia, even on the Chukotka Peninsula. The 
similarity between the Early Neolithic of Taymyr and 
the precisely dated Syalakh culture permits us to date 
the early ceramics from Glubokoe I and Abylaakh I 
to the fourth millennium B.C. 

Some of the Taymyr sites where ceramics have 
not been preserved probably date to the same 
millennium. Several of these sites, with materials 
that date to both the Mesolithic and the Neolithic 
(Kapkannaya II, Pyasina XV, Malaya Korennaya III, 
Kholodnaya V, Labaz V, VI, IX), were discussed in 
Chapter 1. Materials from Dyuna II, Novorybnoye 
II, and Novaya VII can be dated to the Early 

Dyuna II is situated on the left bank of the Pyasina 
River 71 kilometers from its source. Here fragments 
of four blades, a core of flinty slate, three blades of 
brownish flint, and a flake of black flinty slate were 
recovered from a single unit. The flake was treated 
by marginal retouch; its form resembles that of an 
almond-shaped arrowhead, and it was probably a 
preform for such a tool. 

A leaf-shaped arrowhead made from a large 
prismatic blade of pinkish jasper was found at 
Novorybnoye II on the right bank of the Khatanga 
River. Its dorsal surface is almost completely covered 
with oblique flat retouch, and only the central ridge 
remains untouched. On the ventral side of the blade, 
the point and the base were formed by retouch (Fig. 
1 9:4). Similar arrowheads were found in the seventh 
level, equivalent to the earliest Syalakh layer of 
Belkachi I (Mochanov 1969:table 1 5:1, 2, 5). 

This description of early Neolithic sites concludes 
with a discussion of lithic materials from the 
Novorybnoye l-b site. This site may date to the 
next stage of the Neolithic. Fifty-nine blades and 
fragments, a prismatic core (Fig. 20:5) and an 
endscraper with a spear-like shape made from a large 
blade or blade-like flake (Fig. 19:1) were collected at 
the site. One surface of the endscraper was prepared 
entirely by flat retouch, while on the other side only 
the edges have been retouched. The round working 
edge of the scraper is formed by steep retouch. Alt 
these tools were made of brown jasper. Only two 
of eight small flakes were made from a black flinty 
slate. These two flakes were removed from a ground 
stone tool. 



The manufacture of net ceramics continued 
during the next stage of the Taymyr Neolithic. Visual 
observations indicate distinct differences between 
the impressions on the surface of these ceramics. 
Sometimes they resemble the impressions of crudely 
made textiles; these ceramics have been termed 
"pseudo-textile" in some publications. This name is 
also applied to ceramics with a decorative design 
that is similar to a woven pattern. This terminological 
muddle necessitates the use of different nomenclature 
for different kinds of net-like impressions. 

I propose dividing net ceramics into four types 
distinguished by their impressions: (1) small mesh 
or large mesh ceramics with clear impressions 
of net mesh; (2) net-pit ceramics, characterized 
by impressions of small net knots; (3) net-textile 
ceramics, which display net impressions that so 
densely cover the surface that they appear to have 
been created by a woven or knitted fabric; and (4) 
net-corded ceramics, in which net impressions appear 
to have been made using a cord-wrapped stick. Some 
vessels display various combinations of two or more 
of these types. Such ceramics may be called simply 
"net" ceramics. One example is the vessel from 
Glubokoe I. The walls of this vessel carry cord-like 
impressions, whereas the bottom retains large mesh 

The Neolithic of the Third 
and Second Millennia B.C. 

If the Early Neolithic inhabitants of Taymyr still lived 
under Atlantic climatic conditions, then the Sub- 
Boreal, which began at the very end of the fourth 
millennium B.C., brought severe ordeals for their 
descendants. The first half of the third millennium 
B.C. was still warm, but the climate became dryer 
and more continental. Though arboreal vegetation 
remained in the same areas as in the Atlantic Period, 
its composition began to change. According to pollen 
studies, the region of Karginsky Cape on the Yenisey 
River was part of a subzone characterized by alder 
and birch forests with larch and fir (Firsov et al. 1 974), 

while central Taymyr, judging from data obtained 
from Tagenar VI, was a subzone of northern taiga 
larch forests of the central Siberian type (Levkovskaia 
et al. 1972). Beginning in the middle of the third 
millennium B.C., the climate began to worsen. 
The forest tundra was already predominant near 
Karginsky Cape, but northern taiga remained in the 
region of the Tagenarka River. In general the climatic 
conditions of Taymyr were better than at present, 
even during the second part of the Sub-Boreal. 

Sites representative of three cultures appear in 
Taymyr during the third millennium. The Khatanga II 
(Kuchuguy-Yurvakh I) site, discovered by Okladnikov 
at the location of present-day Khatanga village in 
1945 (Okladnikov 1947a), represents one of these 
cultures. A large triangular knife, seven endscrapers 
made on flakes with almost continuous retouch, 
two multifaceted burins similar to core-like burins, 
elongated narrow arrowheads with concave bases 
and symmetric points, fragments of ground adzes, 
microblades, and other chalcedony and flinty slate 
objects were found on the site near two hearths. A 
fragment of a bone base with a deep groove for insets 
was found in one hearth. (This is a rare phenomenon 
for Taymyr, where bones are poorly preserved at 
early sites.) Ceramics are represented by fragments 
of one large pot with a round base and an intentional 
projection in the center. The external surfaces of the 
sherds were covered with cord impressions after 
the vessel had been formed using a cord-wrapped 

Okladnikov dated this site to the Developed 
Neolithic of Yakutia, based on similar materials from 
the Middle Lena sites, Kullaty and Malaya Munku 
(Okladnikov 1947a:44; 1950b:21-79; 1 955a:85). 
After the discovery of stratified sites on the Aldan 
River— important for distinguishing the Neolithic 
cultures of Yakutia these Middle Lena sites have 
been ascribed to the Belkachi culture, dated between 
5000 ± 100 and 3900 ± 100 B.P., to the third 
millennium B.C. (Mochanov 1969; Mochanov and 
Fedoseeva 1 975a). 



The tool assemblage of the Khatanga II site is 
similar in many respects to the lithic inventory of the 
Belkachi culture, which consists of bifacial ly retouched 
or ground artifacts typical of the Developed Neolithic 
in which blade-focused technology continued to 
be used. Considerable change occurred in the 
production of ceramics, which were manufactured 
by a cord-wrapped paddle. Because of the impres- 
sions of this paddle, the Belkachi ceramics are called 
"corded." Another indicator of Belkachi ceramics is 
the addition of an extra coil of clay to the rim to 
make it thicker. Near the edge of the rim is a row of 
small pierced holes. 

Belkachi ceramics were found on three other 
sites in Taymyr. Sherds of a gray, thin-walled (4 to 
5 mm) vessel were found in the first level of Pyasina 
IV. Judging from the sherds, a thin twisted cord was 
rolled vertically over the surface; unfortunately, this 
ceramic was accompanied by surface finds dating 
from different times, making it difficult to isolate the 
lithic inventory associated with it. Artifacts made of 
flinty slate blades, dating from the Mesolithic, and 
Iron Age ceramics were among the materials collected 
here. Such ceramics are usually not associated with 
prismatic blades and chalcedony tools. Therefore the 
possibility arises that the chalcedony materials found 
on the first level (blades, a flake struck from a conical 
core, an inset, a triangular arrowhead, a blade inset 
from a composite knife, and endscrapers on flakes 
and chips) are associated with the corded ceramics. 
Blades of white flinty rock may be attributed to the 
same complex. Several analogous artifacts were 
found in the second level. Perhaps it too was occupied 
by Belkachi people. 

Small sherds with poorly preserved impressions of 
thin cord were also collected from the Pyasina II site. 
Flat-backed cores of pink jasper one intact and one 
broken (Fig. 29:19, 20)— were found together with 
these sherds, as well as a flake removed from a core 
of white flinty rock, twenty-nine blades of white flint, 
chalcedony, and pink jasper, and eight blades of gray 
flinty slate. Nine blade insets (Fig. 29:9-1 5) and five 

blades with small retouch on the ventral side, which 
were used as sidescrapers and as knives, were made 
of pink jasper and flinty slate. One blade was pointed 
to serve as a perforator with the aid of ventral retouch 
(Fig. 29:2). Two blades have oblique retouched ends. 
A small triangular arrowhead (Fig. 29: 1 ) was made of 
an elongated flake with marginal retouch. A fragment 
of an endscraper of crimson jasper was turned into 
a dihedral burin (Fig. 29:3). A slab of sandstone was 
used as a saw (Fig. 29:1 7). A number of small flakes 
and chips were of the same raw materials as the 
tools. Large flakes of dark gray flinty slate were struck 
from a ground artifact. Near a hearth containing an 
accumulation of burnt and cracked stones, calcined 
bones were found with a fragment of a tool, possibly 
a perforator, among them, as well as a piece of antler 
with traces of sawing. 

Thick-walled (7 to 8 mm) ceramics were found 
during the excavation of Boyarka I, situated on the 
right bank of the Kheta River at the confluence 
of the Boyarka River. The surface of the ceramics 
display impressions of crudely woven strips of bark 
that resemble wickerwork. Traces of closely spaced, 
linear decoration are present on the sherds. Sherds 
with parallel impressions of twisted cord, typical 
for the Belkachi culture, were found together with 
thick-walled ceramics. A barrel-like prismatic core 
with two opposite striking platforms (Fig. 30:12), 
five endscrapers on amorphous chalcedony and 
flinty flakes, a burin-on-a-break made on a prismatic 
blade (Fig. 29:4), a crested blade with use-wear 
indicating that it served as a sidescraper, a fragment 
of an inset or of an arrowhead, and a fragment of 
some large artifact were found in association with 
these two types of ceramics. There were also blades 
made of pink and white jasper, chalcedony, flinty 
slate, and flint of brownish color. An activity area 
was identified where the knapping of chalcedony 
occurred. Here the cultural layer was filled with 
chalcedony flakes and chips. About one thousand 
such items were gathered from an area of about 
0.3 square meters. 



29/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina II (nos. I -3, 5- 1 7); bone artifact from Pyasina II (1 8); and from Boyarka I (4). 

Some sites without ceramics can also be attributed 
to the Belkachi culture. First of all is an elongated leaf- 
shaped arrowhead of pink jasper found in Area I at 
Bludnaya II. Its base is round and its surface is treated 
by oblique flat retouch along the lateral margins 
(Fig. 19:3). Similar arrowheads are characteristic of 
the Belkachi culture. A crude blank for an analogous 
arrowhead was found at Novorybnoye VI, the site 
of a workshop (Fig. 21:5). A massive laminar flake 
detached from a pencil-like core of pink jasper (Fig. 
1 9:2) was found at Novaya VII in association with large 
flinty slate flakes, twenty-seven prismatic blades, and 
numerous small flakes of light pink jasper and flinty 
slate. The distal end of the laminar flake is pointed by 
rough ventral retouch. The flint knapper was probably 
going to manufacture an arrowhead similar to those 
from Bludnaya II. There is also a knife-sidescraper 

made from a large blade of gray-green flinty slate (Fig. 
21 :2). The convex side of the blade was sharpened by 
retouch. The other edge has steep retouch and was 
used as a sidescraper as indicated by use-wear. 

Some other sites of Eastern and Western Taymyr 
have tool types and raw materials similar to those 
known for the Belkachi culture but, as many of the 
types found on these sites could belong either to 
the Neolithic or to the Early Bronze Age, it is better 
to describe them at the conclusion of the section 
devoted to the Neolithic. Taking into consideration 
the small number of Belkachi sites known in Taymyr, 
one may suppose that the number of Belkachi 
people who penetrated the northwest was small. 
Corded ceramics have been found only at the 
Khorbusuonka I site in the Anabar and Olenek River 
basins (Konstantinov 1970). 



The spread of Belkachi culture was probably 
hampered by another population that existed in 
eastern Taymyr in the third millennium B.C. which 
left sites such as Maimeche I and IV. These sites 
were identified by the Polar Expedition on the right 
bank of the Kheta River (Fig. 31). The Maimeche 
I site is situated 3 kilometers downstream from 
Katyryk village. Going along the high bank about 
one kilometer farther we find ourselves at Maimeche 
IV, and 1 .5 to 2 kilometers farther downstream we 
arrive at the Maimeche River. I would like to point 
out that the right bank of the Kheta is called "stone," 
whereas its left bank is called "tundra." These names 
emphasize the fact that the Kheta and Khatanga 
Valleys represent the boundary of the northernmost 
forest in the world— to the north of this boundary 
tundra begins. In the vicinity of the sites the "stone" 

bank is densely overgrown with larch that rises 
above the Kheta River some 11 to 1 3 meters and is 
separated from the main riverbed by a narrow flood 
plain. The steep bank is cut through by several deep, 
narrow gullies with brooks flowing through them. 
Ancient sites are situated, as a rule, on cape-like 
projections of this bank which are bounded by ravines 
and well drained. 

The Maimeche I site occupies a spit on the left 
bank of one of these stream valleys (Fig. 32). There 
are about 200 square meters of flat ground suitable 
for living. The first excavation, put in the center of 
this area in 1967, produced only a few artifacts. 
Subsequent excavations, carried out in 1968 and 
1972, showed that the richest section of the site 
stretched along the western edge of the point 
facing the Kheta Valley. Such a location becomes 

30/ Lithic artifacts from sites located in the Kheta and Khatagna River valleys: Faktoriya (trading station) 
(no. I): Skhyr-Chuyepe-Yuryakh I (2): Sakhyr-Chuyepe-Yuryakh III (3, 8); Zhdanikha III (4, 6, 7); Ust-Boyarka 
(5): Ust-Zhdanikha (9); Boyarka I (10-12). 



X - site locations 
1 -6 - numbers of site locations 

31/ Map of sites near the Maimeche River. 

understandable when one considers that the entire 
surface of the point is thoroughly warmed by the 
summer sun and that wind blowing from the river 
valley carries away mosquitoes. 

The main part of the site was exhausted by 
excavating 54 square meters. The stratigraphy is 
typical of shallow sites of the region: a humic turf 
layer 7 to 1 2 centimeters thick, below which is a 
yellowish sand level 6 to 10 centimeters thick, and 
below that, gray loam. The layers were disturbed 
here and there by small frost wedges. In addition, 
one large wedge crossed the excavation area from 
southwest to northeast. The cultural layer near this 
wedge became deformed and its materials penetra- 
ted deeply into the underlying gray loam, whereas its 
original position was directly beneath the turf layer. 
Excavations at the very end of the hot summer of 
1 967 revealed permafrost that began at a depth of 
half a meter from the surface. 

32/ Map of excavations at Maimeche I. 



The remains of a living complex were identified 
in the eastern half of the excavation, near the river 
where the majority of artifacts were concentrated. 
A charcoal-humus layer 6 to 7 centimeters thick 
was found here at the bottom of the sandy layer 
and in some places under the loam layer as well. 
It consisted of very thin alternating layers of black, 
brown, and reddish soil covering an area of 4 to 5 
square meters. On its southeast side, this area had 
round outlines and was bounded by a ledge that 
cut into the loam (Fig. 33). The greatest observed 
height of the ledge was 25 centimeters. Along the 
southwest and northeast sides, the boundary of this 
area was diffuse and its edges were overlapped by 
the loam layer here and there. Along the northwest 
side, it was disturbed by the above-mentioned large 
frozen wedge. The southeast edge of the area lay at a 
depth of 30 to 35 centimeters; toward the northwest 
the depth decreased. In general this area turned out 
to be the fill of a round hollow, 2.3 to 2.5 meters 

in diameter, with low steep walls. This can best be 
interpreted as the base of a golomo-iype dwelling 
dug into the earth [a golomo is a semi-subterranean 
rectangular wooden structure formerly found among 
Yakut peoples; see Fig. 169b]. 

At the northern edge of the living area at a depth 
of 1 2 centimeters we found a large round stone with 
a flat surface on which large flakes of greenish flinty 
slate were lying. Numerous flakes also lay in the 
lower part of the sandy layer at a distance of 1 .5 to 
2 meters to the south and west of this stone, which 
had served as an anvil for knapping greenish-gray 
flinty slate pebbles. More than two thousand flakes 
removed from such pebbles were located in an area of 
4 square meters. Because their distribution coincided 
with the outlines of the charcoal-humus stained area, 
whereas beyond the limits of the stained area the 
number of flakes decreased sharply, one supposes 
that the anvil was situated in a dwelling at the edge 
of a bench. Another similar stone, 1 5 centimeters in 

33/ Photo of excavations at Maimeche 1; a portion of a semi-subterranean house is visible in the fore- 



diameter, lies east of this area and beyond its limits; 
because the central sections of the flattened sides 
of this stone were hardly damaged, it probably also 
served as a stone-knapping anvil, although few flakes 
were found near it. A large flat stone cobble lying in 
Section 52 was also used as an anvil, judging from 
its damaged flat surfaces. There was an accumulation 
of flakes on and around this stone. Three coarse- 
grained pebbles with damaged ends had been used 
as hammerstones. 

The cultural layer of the site contained a small 
number of sherds— a typical situation in the 
Arctic where climatic conditions do not favor the 
preservation of ceramics. The sherds belong to no 
fewer than six vessels of the same type (Figs. 34, 
35). These are round-based pots, modeled from 
clay mixed with reindeer hair and, more rarely, with 
pieces of crushed, fired clay. The wall thickness 
depended on the size of the vessels: thus, a pot 
with a rim measuring 12 centimeters in diameter 
is thin-walled (3 mm), whereas another pot, with 
a rim 20 centimeters in diameter has thicker 
walls (6 to 7 mm). The walls were formed by two- 
layered modeling. The rims are slightly thickened 
by the application of an extra coil of clay 2 to 2.5 
centimeters thick to the exterior. The edge of the 
rim was either flat or rounded. The surfaces of the 
pots are covered with pit-like impressions from 
large net knots, making the sherds resemble so- 
called "textile ceramics." According to the proposed 
nomenclature (see page 54), they are net-pit type 
ceramics. Very few sherds show clear impressions 
of mesh with diagonals 3 by 5 millimeters and 5 by 
5 millimeters. The thickened rims were sometimes 
decorated with horizontal lines made with small 
dentate stamp impressions. When the decoration 
was complete, a number of small holes were pierced 
into the edge of the rim. The vessels were fired in 
a reducing environment that gave them a black 

The lithic assemblage from the site is rather 
monotonous. Tools were made primarily of chalce- 

3 cm 
I I I I 

34/ Ceramics from Maimeche I. 

^ 3cm 
I I I I 

35/ Ceramics from Maimeche I. 



36/ Ceramics from Maimeche I. 

37/ Lithic artifacts from Maimeche I. 

dony, and only a small number were made of gray- 
green flinty slate. The most distinct group are the 
perforators (Fig. 37:1 4-1 8). There are five such tools, 
two found in the humus area of the dwelling. All the 
perforators are of the shouldered type. Two were 
made from crude blades, three from flakes. Both the 
shoulders and a thin point 3 to 6 millimeters long 
were formed by small careful retouch; the body of the 
tool was small but sufficient to support the fingers. 
In addition to these typologically distinct perforators, 
there is a perforator made of a pointed chalcedony 
flake (Fig. 37:19). 

Numerous insets and inset knives were also 
found. Small insets, which could go into the long 
grooves of composite tools, are represented by only 
two specimens (Fig. 37:7, 8). These are narrow (3 
mm wide) microblades worked by bifacial retouch; 

the thinner edge was inserted into the 
hafting slot, and they have been hardly 
damaged by use-wear. The inset knives 
(six specimens) were also made from 
blades, but of a much larger size (Fig. 
37:10-13). They are represented by 
fragments measuring between 15 and 22 
millimeters long. The length of intact tools 
could exceed 5 centimeters. Their working 
edges are heavily worn. Slight asymmetry 
of edges indicates that the cutting edge 
was intentionally placed at an angle to 
the handle. A blade flake with a partially 
worked surface was probably an inset (Fig. 
37:9). The overwhelming majority of inset 
blades were made of chalcedony, which is 
stronger than flinty slate. However, there is 
a beautiful semi-lunar knife in the collection 
that was ground from a flake of flinty slate 
(Fig. 37:6). Its cutting edge, like the knives 
of the Nganasan and Dolgan [and Nenets], 
is unilaterally sharpened, which makes it 
helpful for scaling fish and planing wood. 

There is also a distinctive tool that 
is frequently found on Taymyr sites, an 



angular cutter— a small implement with two knife 
edges that meet at a 70-degree angle (Fig. 37:23). 
Similar cutters have been found on other sites, 
with edges that meet at angles varying from 65 to 
100 degrees. An artifact made of a large piece of 
chalcedony, resembling a sidescraper or a fragment 
of an adze in shape, probably should be assigned to 
this cutting-tool category. Its convex edge has large 
facet retouch, and another, slightly concave edge has 
sharpening retouch and shows evidence of use-wear 
(Fig. 37:24). Only one carefully finished endscraper 
was found at the site (Fig. 37:1). It is made of 
chalcedony and has evidence of retouch. Four other 
tools identified as endscrapers were made of crude 
flakes with retouch only on their working edges (Fig. 
37:2-5). One endscraper was used to process convex 
surfaces (Fig. 37:2). There is also an interesting 1 .5 
centimeter-long micro-endscraper made on a tiny 
chalcedony flake with a slightly convex working edge 
with diminutive retouch. 

The small number of endscrapers found at 
Maimeche I is rather unusual for Taymyr, as is 
the absence of distinct arrowheads. At Maimeche 
IV, endscrapers are represented by several types, 
whereas at Maimeche I, only three endscrapers were 
found, all made casually from chalcedony flakes and 
with shapes resembling triangular arrowheads with 
oblique bases (Fig. 37:20-22). However, use-wear 
indicates they may have served as cutting tools as 
well. In addition, two fragments were found that 
probably represent parts of arrowheads. 

A slate whetstone fragment was found inside 
the dwelling. Its other half was found in the fill of a 
large frost wedge. The whetstone measures 7 by 1 2 
by 50 millimeters. Grooves on its surface indicate 
that it was probably used to sharpen needles (Fig. 
37:31). Pieces of porous sandstone with use-wear 
indicating an abrasive function were found among 
flakes. These were used for sawing and grinding slate 
rocks. Waste flakes processed in this way testify to 
the manufacture of ground stone tools at the site. 
Maimeche I inhabitants were occupied mainly with 

knapping flinty slate pebbles that they gathered 
along the banks of the Kheta in the second half of 
summer, when pebbles were exposed. The rather 
unusual tool assemblage for an arctic hunting site, 
with small numbers of endscrapers and arrowheads, 
can be explained by the use of the site as a tool 
production locality. 

The excavation area yielded 4302 flakes. 
Chalcedony flakes are few in number, and prismatic 
blades are equally rare (fifty-nine examples). One 
conical chalcedony prismatic core was found that had 
broken and was abandoned on the site. An attempt 
had been made to remove blades from parts of this 
core, and then one end of the lower part was refash- 
ioned into an endscraper. Only this artifact, among 
the many chalcedony artifacts, has a white patina. The 
upper part of the core was abandoned in the dwelling 
and fell into the fire, where it cracked. The refitted 
core (Fig. 37:25) is 4.2 centimeters in length, while 
some of the blades are as long as 5 centimeters. 

The discovery of a personal ornament made for 
insertion into a hole pierced in the lip or cheek is the 
most remarkable artifact recovered from the site (Fig. 
37:27, 38:2). In shape this piece resembles a labret 
and its asymmetry suggests it was a lateral type 
meant to be inserted near the edge of the mouth; 
originally it may have been paired with a second 
ornament (Fig. 39). This piece measures 7 by 25 by 
1 8 millimeters. The labret was cut from light brown 
steatite and then ground into shape. There is also a 
knob-shaped ornament (Figs. 37:26; 38:4) measur- 
ing 1 9 millimeters and with a diameter of the head 
of 1 millimeters. These ornaments may have been 
manufactured at the site, because a piece of steatite 
sawn from a nodule was found nearby. According to 
the information received from local Dolgan, the same 
or similar steatite is found in the upper reaches of 
the Maimeche River. Two objects made from poorer 
quality steatite— a rod-like blank (Figs. 37:29, 38:6) 
and something similar to a hairpin (Figs. 37:30, 
38:5) were also recovered; however, the function 
of these two specimens is unclear. 



38/ Steatite (soapstone) ornaments and ornament preforms from Maimeche IV (nos. 1, 7-9): Maimeche I 
(2-6); Khargy 111(10). 


4 1 / Stratigraphic profile of Maimeche IV. Legend: 1 = upper soil (turf); 2 = yellow sand; 3 = red-brown sand; 
4 = gray, loamy sand; 5 = charcoal lenses. 

Maimeche IV is situated about one kilometer 
from Maimeche I and occupies a small point on the 
old bank of the Kheta River. The flat surface of the 
point was almost entirely covered by the 61-square- 
meter excavation area (Fig. 40). The main part of 
the site was uncovered in 1968, and the excavation 
area was expanded in 1972. Stratigraphy is as 
follows (Fig. 41): (1) a turf layer (9-12 cm); (2) yellow 
or reddish-brown, loamy sand 3 to 20 centimeters 
thick; and (3) gray, loamy sand. The order of the 
deposits is complicated by frost wedges and heaves. 
In 1968, permafrost was encountered 15 centimeters 
below the surface and greatly impeded excavation. 
We noted a thin loamy lens on the surface of the 
frozen layer. This lens was probably caused by soil 
being washed into the space vacated by melting 
snow and ice. 

The artifacts are associated with the second 
layer, where remains of three hearths were found. 
The hearths appear as diffuse, ashy spots without 
clear boundaries. The lenses of Hearths 1 and 2 are 
very thin. Hearth 3 consisted of several charcoal- 

stained, loamy lenses with a typical thickness of 1 2 
centimeters. Because of cryogenic deformation of 
the cultural layer, the artifacts lay at different depths, 
often in the subsoil following ice wedge channels. 
Organic materials were poorly preserved. There 
was no charcoal, only charcoal stains. The crown of 
a single reindeer tooth was the only bone material 

The Maimeche IV assemblage is similar to that 
of Maimeche I. Ceramics were poorly preserved and 
are represented by only a few small fragments with 
net impressions on the external surfaces (Fig. 42). 
The net had small mesh (6 by 3 or 6 by 4 mm) and 
was woven from thin (sinew?) threads 0.20 to 0.25 
millimeters thick. On many sherds, the mesh did 
not leave imprints and the surface is covered only 
with knot impressions. Some sherds have smooth 
surfaces. Sherd thickness is about 5 millimeters. The 
paste contains hair. 

Judging by the rims and decorations, the sherds 
represent fragments from four vessels. Their rims 
were thickened from the outside by the addition of 



a wide, thin coil. Rims of two vessels were decorated 
with horizontal comb stamping. The rim of the third 
vessel has lines drawn in a zigzag pattern with pits 
located at the top of the zigzag. The rim of the 
fourth vessel carries a pattern of horizontal rows 
of shallow pits. A row of holes, pierced from the 
outside with the aid of a thin rod, is located slightly 
below the rim. There are also fragments of a round- 
bottomed vessel decorated with three lines that cross 
in the center of the bottom, forming a "star" shape. 
The pots were miter-like in form and rather small; 
the reconstructed rim would have been about 1 7 
centimeters in diameter. The edges of some rims 
are straight. 

Knapping of pebbles of flinty slate was carried 
out here, just as at Maimeche I. Accumulations of 
slate flakes were found near the hearths. More than 
1400 of these flakes were found in an area of 4 
square meters south of Hearth 1 . In the same area 
we found a large flat cobble with a depression in 
the center— an anvil analogous to those found at 
Maimeche I. A number of slate flakes lay nearby. One 
meter away from the anvil was a large split pebble 
of flinty slate. Hammerstones were not found at the 
site, but on the northern side facing the river, where 
traces of flint knapping were sparse, we found small 
pebbles of gneiss about 3 centimeters in diameter. 
Nine such pebbles were recovered in Section 18. 
Similar pebbles, intentionally selected by size, lay in 
neighboring sections. They have no traces of wear. 
These pebbles lay as if stretched in a line, suggesting 
that they may have been used as net weights. 

Although artifacts were manufactured of flinty 
slate at this site, including blades, this raw material 
was used primarily to make adzes with rectangular 
cross-sections. Three unfinished flaked tools of this 
kind were found (Fig. 43:1, 2, 5). Flakes removed 
from ground adzes were found among numerous 
flat flakes, mainly in the southern part of the excava- 
tion. On some of these, ridges are visible between 
the ground surfaces. One of the surfaces, as a rule, 
represents the remnant of the striking platform. 

An adze working edge is clearly visible on one of 
the flakes. The width of the adze near the working 
edge is 3.7 centimeters. Another flake was removed 
from a lateral side of the same adze near its butt; 
judging from the thickness of the flake, the adze 
was 1.6 centimeters thick. Flakes with traces of 
grinding differ in color and in quality of slate, sug- 
gesting they may have been detached from three 
different artifacts. Both the intentional splitting of 
ground tools and the secondary use of the flakes 
have been reported by Okladnikov for sites in the 
Lena region— for example, the Kullaty and Syalakh 
Lake sites (Okladnikov 1945:89; 1950b:61). Pieces 
of coarse-grained sandstone served as abrasives for 
sharpening ground tools. 

More than 3,000 flakes and chips of flinty slate 
were found in the excavation area. Chalcedony was 
also knapped here, in contrast to Maimeche I. The 
overwhelming majority of microblades were made of 
these raw materials. Some artifacts of this kind were 
also made of jasper. In all, 1 26 prismatic blades were 
found. There are flakes removed from chalcedony 
cores (Fig. 44:3), a striking platform of a prismatic 

42/ Ceramics from Maimeche IV. 



core of flinty slate, and amorphous chalcedony pieces 
with scars left as the result of blade removal; intact 
cores are absent. 

Most tools were made from chalcedony. The 
collection of slate tools includes, in addition to the 
above-mentioned adzes, a half-finished half-moon- 
shaped knife (Fig. 44:8), a crescent-shaped ground 
knife (Fig. 44:1) and a small chisel (Fig. 43:4). The 
half-moon-shaped knife is flaked over its entire 
surface; its edges are retouched; both the cutting 
edge and the butt are denticulate. Black flinty slate 
was used to manufacture the ground knife. One of 
its sides is flat, another has three edges. The edges 
of the butt are retouched. The chisel is made on a 
flake. This tool is retouched; only its working edge 
was bifacially sharpened with the aid of an abrasive. 
The chisel has a stem fashioned by steep retouch and 
was intended for fastening in a handle. 

A chisel made from a large chalcedony flake 
(Fig. 43:3) was probably used for wood processing. 

43/ Adzes and adze preforms from Maimeche IV. 

44/ Lithic artifacts from Maimeche IV. 




The concave flute of the tool was formed by the 
natural curve of the flake. Only the dorsal surface 
is retouched. Retouch sharpening of the working 
edge covers the dorsal side only. Cutting tools are 
represented by two chalcedony knives of the inset 
type (Fig. 44:4, 5); a large inset of light pink jasper 
(Fig. 44:6); a fine chalcedony knife (Fig. 44:7); 
and a small knife made from a chalcedony flake. 
The first three tools were carefully worked by flat 
bifacial retouch. There is also a fragment of a leaf- 
shaped knife and a fragment of a large, unfinished 
chalcedony knife. The collection of cutting tools 
includes fragments of two small completely 
retouched insets and a blade inset, one edge of 
which is bifacially retouched. The working edge of 
one chalcedony inset (unfortunately represented by 
only a fragment) was turned into a saw edge with 
small, very regular teeth made by carefully placed 
denticulate retouch. 

The group of perforators includes six tools (Fig. 
45:6-10). These were made of flakes; only their 
points and the adjacent shoulders were formed by 
retouch. Only one perforator was made of flinty 
slate; the rest are chalcedony. There is also a small 
blade flake which, based on its shape, resembles a 

46/ Reconstruction of medial labret use. 

perforator. Originally it probably served as an inset, 
as indicated by the retouch sharpening its edges, 
and was later used as a notched push-plane. Two 
notches were made on one of its ends by steep 
retouch, and this produced something like a point. 
Another flat chalcedony flake also has notches. A 
number of flakes have retouch and endscraper use- 
wear. A massive chalcedony blade-flake serves as an 
example of this type (Fig. 45:13). Its high, straight 
working edge shows retouch that formed during 
wood processing. The opposite edge is heavily worn 
from skin processing and is rounded and lustrous. 
Linear use-wear can be seen on this tool with the aid 
of a binocular microscope. 

An endscraper made of a massive chalcedony 
flake (Fig. 45:11) has a rounded working edge 
shaped by steep retouch. There are numerous 
nicks on the working edge caused by processing 
some hard material such as bone. One chalcedony 
blade was turned into an endscraper, and another 
very carefully made endscraper was produced from 
smoky brown chalcedony (Fig. 45:1 2). This piece was 
retouched from all sides and can be classified as a 
truncated backed endscraper with a convex working 
edge. The endscraper was probably hafted. The 
working edge of the tool was heavily damaged from 
scraping some hard material. A series of unilaterally 
retouched blade-flakes (four specimens) were used 
as sidescrapers. 

Eight arrowheads, most of which are broken, were 
found at the site. An arrowhead with a broken point 
(Fig. 45:3) and a fragment of a small arrowhead, 
both made of jasper-like flint, belong to the type 
of elongated-triangular arrowheads characterized 
by concave bases. A chalcedony arrowhead with a 
broken base may belong to the same type (Fig. 45:4). 
These tools were made very carefully. Two triangular- 
tanged arrowheads were more casually made from 
chalcedony flakes (Fig. 45:1 , 2). The ventral surfaces 
of these flakes were treated only along the edges. 
The same may be said regarding three leaf-shaped 
arrowheads represented by their bases only. A base 



of some other tool, probably a dart or spear head, 
was also recovered. 

The most remarkable finds from Maimeche 
IV are ornaments made of gold-colored steatite, 
the same raw material found at Maimeche I. The 
repeated discovery of such objects associated 
with net ceramics and a lithic complex identical to 
the Maimeche I complex eliminates any question 
of whether these materials date to different time 
periods. In the northern part of the excavation 
area we found a round protuberant button with an 
opening made by double-sided boring (Fig. 38:8) 
and a pentagonal labret with a concave bottom 
and projections near its base (Fig. 38:1). It was 
probably worn through a hole beneath the lower 
lip and rested against the gums. The projection 
prevented it from slipping out. The symmetry of the 
piece indicates that it belongs to the medial type, 
i.e., it was worn beneath the lower lip rather than 
at the sides (Fig. 46). 

A fragment of a steatite rim was found in the 
southeast corner of the excavation area. The rim is 
flat; external diameter is 30 millimeters; and internal 
diameter is 25 millimeters (Fig. 38:9). A mushroom- 
like pendant (Fig. 38:7) lay in Section 22, near the 
center of the excavation area. A suspension hole was 
made by double-sided boring on the flattened end of 
its stem. At this point, the pendant was broken. 

Circlets, probably representing bracelets, made 
of slate, amber, and bone are found frequently at 
Neolithic sites of the Eurasian forest belt from the 
Baltic region to the Aldan River in Yakutia. A fragment 
of a ring of white nephrite was found in Layer V of 
Belkachi I on the Aldan River. This layer contained 
materials belonging to the Belkachi culture. One 
radiocarbon date (LE 775) was obtained: 4880 ± 
90 B.P. (Mochanov 1969:91, table 89:1, 4). In the 
Angara region, judging by finds from the Tsiklodrom 
cemetery, marble and nephrite circlets were being 
made by Kitoy culture people (Khoroshikh 1966: 
fig. 5:80; Okladnikov 1950c:385, fig. 122). Such 
artifacts were also used during the Early Bronze Age 

when they became the favored adornment of people 
of the Glazkovo culture (Okladnikov 1955b:269). A 
fragment of a nephrite circlet associated with bronze 
tools was found in Burial Mound 9 of the Ust-Belsky 
graveyard on Chukotka (Dikov 1 969:fig. 29). 

The remaining ornaments from Maimeche I and 
IV are almost unique. There is a single comparative 
specimen for the mushroom-shaped pendant (Dikov 
1 979:fig. 61 ). This comparison is striking for a num- 
ber of reasons. First, the object is nearly identical to 
the pendant from Maimeche IV in both shape and 
size and is made of a soft stone. Second, the piece 
was found on the Kamchatka Peninsula— extremely 
far from Taymyr. Third, the Kamchatka specimen 
dates to the Palaeolithic (Dikov 1 979:58) and comes 
from Layer VI at the Ushki site, which is earlier than 
10,360 ± 350 B.P. (Mo 345) and 10,760 ±110 B.P. 
(MAG 2 1 9). [New radiocarbon dating and analysis of 
the early levels of the Ushki site have been reported 
byGoebel et al. (2003). -Erf.] 

Beginning in the first half of the third millennium 
B.C., so-called "buttons with bored V-shaped holes" 
made of amber are known from Neolithic sites in 
northern Europe, especially in Latvia (Vankina et al. 
1973:214). However, none of these finds resemble 
the buttons from Maimeche IV. Closest in date are 
objects of bone that formed part of an ornament 
string recovered from the Afanasyeva Cora cemetery 
on the Yenisey River. The ornaments were worn 
on the left hand of a woman buried in one of the 
graves. The interment dates from the end of the third 
millennium B.C. (Gryasnov 1969:50, pi. 3). 

The most notable aspect of the pin-like object 
from Maimeche I was its head portion, as the stem 
was probably meant to be inserted into a base. Similar 
pin-like adornments made of walrus tusk have been 
found in ancient Eskimo burials at Uelen and Ekven 
on the Russian side of Bering Strait. Identified as 
"nail-like" objects by Sergei A. Arutiunov and Dorian 
A. Sergeev, these artifacts served to decorate or 
"embroider" wooden objects (Arutiunov and Sergeev 
1962:1 5; 1969:79, fig. 42:1-5; 1975:35, 36). The 



same function may be suggested for the pin from 
Maimeche. [Similar pins have been used by North 
American Eskimos for two thousand years as "wound 
plugs" to pin a sea mammal's wound closed in order 
to prevent the loss of blood between killing and 
butchering. —Ed.] 

In connection with this find it is necessary to 
mention a steatite rod obtained in the course of 
excavations of the Tura I site in Evenkia. Its length is 

I 3 millimeters and diameter is 7 millimeters. One end 
of this piece is rounded and highly polished. Although 
differing from the pin-like object in the absence of 
a head, the rod resembles it in raw material— both 
appear to be made of the same raw material—and 
second, in function. There are also buttons with 
tangs or attachments from burials in the above- 
mentioned cemeteries. Arutiunov and Sergeev have 
suggested that round buttons were probably used 
as ornaments on clothes, while other types most 
likely functioned as hunting equipment (Arutiunov 
and Sergeev 1 969:1 44). These links between Taymyr 
and the North Pacific coast suggested by similar 
ornaments become more evident when we consider 
the Taymyr labrets. 

Besides the labrets from the Maimeche sites, a 
similar ornament was found in eastern Taymyr in 
the vicinity of Lake Labaz at the Khargy III site, which 
dates to the Early Bronze Age. 

Beyond Taymyr, labrets made of walrus tusk have 
been found by Dikov on the northern coast of the 
Chukotka Peninsula at the mouth of Ikolivrunveem 
River in 1963 (Dikov 1977:187, table 166:12). This 
piece is a flat, medial-type labret but has a short 
body, unlike the labret from Maimeche IV. This piece 
belongs to the Punuk culture and dates to about A.D. 
900. Another medial labret made of steatite and 
similar to the Maimeche piece was found in Layer 

II at Ushki II and dates to the Developed Neolithic, 
but the radiocarbon date 1,052 ± 25 B.P. (MAG 32) 
indicates that it is closer in age to the Punuk labret 
(Dikov 1969:209, fig. 59, 114; 1977:73). A small 

labret from the Avacha River in southern Kamchatka 
is similar to the Maimeche finds (Ponomarenko 1 976: 
table 1:17). This object, as well as the those from 
Layer II at Ushki, belongs to the Tarinskaya Neolithic 
culture, which dates to the second and first millen- 
nia B.C. The Eskimo-Aleut traditions notable in this 
region can be traced to the late Palaeolithic Layer VI 
at Ushki, where labrets were found in 1978 (Dikov 
1979:126, 127). 

Finally, there is an object of white nephrite from 
the Kalkey site on the Turukta River (the Middle Lena). 
Based on its lithic inventory and ceramics, this site 
dates from the third to the beginning of the second 
millennium B.C. (Okladnikov 1943:fig. 6; 1955a:79, 
80, color plate). The nephrite object is described as 
an ornament or amulet. It is identical in shape to a 
medial labret but is larger in size. Given ethnographic 
examples of even larger and heavier lip adornments, 
one cannot deny the possibility that this piece was 
used as a labret. 

Even if the ornament from Turukta was not a 
labret, materials from Neolithic Taymyr contribute to 
the ancestry of such objects, which were distributed 
throughout the northern coast of the Pacific Ocean 
and even occur in South America. Investigators 
studying labrets tend to believe this custom could 
not have originated in the Arctic, where climatic 
conditions do not favor it. William H. Dall suggested 
that labrets spread north from Central America 
(Dall 1884), and Charles E. Borden supported this 
view, suggesting that Eskimos and Aleuts may have 
borrowed labrets from Northwest Coast Indians 
(Borden 1962:13). Other scholars propose that 
labrets reached Eskimo-Aleut cultures from the South 
Pacific along the Asian coast through Japan, the 
Kurile Islands, and Kamchatka (Liapunova 1 979:201 , 
202; Vasil'evskii 1 973:95). Dikov has suggested that 
simple lip adornments may have diffused from north 
to south together with other Eskimo-Aleut cultural 
elements. He considered the Taymyr ornaments to be 
relics of the culture that penetrated Taymyr from the 



south— part of the same cultural and ethnic tradition 
that included the late Palaeolithic of Kamchatka 
(Dikov 1979:181, 208). 

Given the discovery of labrets on Taymyr, the 
hypothesis has been advanced that groups of sea 
mammal hunters from the Bering Sea coast may 
have reached this area from the arctic coast to the 
east (Gurvich and Simchenko 1980:145). However, 
because direct cultural contact between Taymyr and 
Northeast Asia can be traced neither in the Mesolithic 
nor in the Neolithic, there is no reason to consider 
Kamchatka the region where this practice appeared 
for the first time, even though this is where the 
earliest labrets are known. Therefore, eastern Siberia 
should be considered the region from which the 
custom of wearing lip adornments and ornaments 
such as the mushroom-shaped pendant originated. 
From there such objects could penetrate Northeast 
Asia as well as America and Taymyr. 

The radiocarbon dates obtained for the Mesolithic 
(4070 B.C.) and the Early Bronze Age (1150 B.P.) 
of Taymyr, which are supported by dates from 
stratified sites in Yakutia, leave too broad a chro- 
nological period into which the Taymyr sites of the 
Developed Neolithic, the Maimeche sites among 
them, can be placed. This period may be reduced 
by one thousand years due to the existence of 
the early Neolithic sites of Taymyr and the coeval 
Isakovo and Syalakh cultures of East Siberia. The 
net ceramics of these cultures lack the thickened 
rims so characteristic of the Maimeche vessels. In 
the Baikal region the thickening of rims and small 
holes near rim edges are characteristic of ceramics 
of another type, without net imprints. The surfaces 
of these vessels are covered with cord impressions. 
The rim thickening, as a rule, is triangular in cross- 
section. The vessels were decorated with lines left 
by rocker-stamping and sometimes also by comb 
impressions. Such ceramics are represented in Layer 
IX of the Ulan-Khada site, where they lay above the 
stratum containing the net ceramics and under the 

stratum with Ust-Belaya ceramics. A date of 3660 ± 
60 B.P. (LE 883) is available for the latter (Khiobystin 
1964a; 1973b). 

Therefore, these ceramics can be dated to the 
end of the fourth and the very beginning of the third 
millennium B.C. I have identified them as the Posolsk 
type because they have been found in great numbers 
at a site near Posolsk on Lake Baikal. Specimens 
of this type are distributed from the Trans-Baikal 
zone to the Yenisey (the Nyasha site) and are found 
on sites in Evenkia. In the Trans-Baikal zone, this 
ceramic has no holes at the edge of the rim and 
displays different ornamentation. It may be called 
the Trans-Baikal variant of the Posolsk type. Evidently 
the Trans-Baikal zone was the center from which 
corded ceramics spread to the Angara, the Middle 
Amur, and to Yakutia at the end of the fourth and 
the beginning of the third millennium B.C. As early 
as 1970, Valerii N. Chernetsov documented the 
diffusion of the Daurian culture with cord-decorated 
ceramics, which took place in the third millennium 
B.C. (Chernetsov 1973:1 5-17). 

In Yakutia, Belkachi ceramics correspond to those 
of the Posolsk type both in appearance and period. 
However, they differ slightly in ornamentation and in 
rim thickness. Thus, Belkachi ceramics have a half- 
moon-shaped thickening of the rim cross-section. 
This links the Belkachi vessels with the pot from 
Maimeche. As noted above, the Belkachi culture is 
characterized by corded ceramics. However, in Layer 
II of the site excavated by Okladnikov at the Kullaty 
River mouth on the Middle Lena— in territory where 
the Belkachi culture was distributed— fragments of 
pots with the half-moon rim thickening and with net- 
impressed surfaces have been found in association 
with typical Belkachi ceramics (Okladnikov 1 950b:57, 
table XV, 5) and are nearly identical to the ceramics 
from the Maimeche sites. 

From the typological point of view these ceramics 
are intermediate between net ceramics without 
thickened rims and corded ceramics with thickened 



rims. Eitherthe appearance of the Maimeche ceramic 
style was a particular stage in the development of 
the material culture of the ancient inhabitants of 
the Lena Basin; or they co-occurred with corded 
ceramics, as seen at the Kullaty site; or they represent 
an independent culture— a question that can be 
answered only with additional fieldwork, especially 
between Taymyr and the Middle Lena. The possibility 
that Maimeche ceramics are the diagnostic feature of 
an independent culture, coeval to some extent with 
Belkachi, seems most plausible because Maimeche 
ceramics are found in an unmixed context in Taymyr 
but have not yet been found on the Aldan. 

The Maimeche culture probably resulted 
from consolidation of Belkachi peoples with the 
indigenous population of Taymyr that lived there 
since the beginning of the Mesolithic. Boyarka I is 
interesting in this regard because net and corded 
ceramics were found there in association. On one 
hand, it may be a chance find; on the other, it may 
reflect the coexistence of Taymyr aborigines with 
newcomers. As a hybrid, Maimeche culture must 
be to some extent coeval with Belkachi sites or be 
slightly younger, i.e., dating either from the third 
millennium B.C. or to the very beginning of the 
second millennium B.C. 

Thus, in the third millennium B.C., new methods 
of ceramic manufacture, connected with a new rim 
shape and the use of a cord-wrapped stick, spread 
over East Siberia. As has already been observed for 
the Early Neolithic Period, net ceramics, although 
appearing at first glance rather uniform, continued 
to show specific local features that allow us to trace 
differences that existed between the Angara and 
Yakut provinces. The corded ceramics of these 
provinces had specific features. In Eastern Europe, 
the spread of ceramic technology employing 
the stab-drag design was adopted by Mesolithic 
peoples. These ceramics spread from a single 
center, supposedly from the Southern Urals near the 
Caspian Sea. Therefore we see not a single culture 
distinguished by their similar ceramics, butanumber 

of related Early Neolithic cultures with different 
Mesolithic roots displaying differences in ceramic 
decoration. Thus, the spread of the early ceramics 
in Eastern Europe was not a phenomenon connected 
with the spread of an ethnic group, but rather the 
result of cultural diffusion. 

The same process took place in Eastern Siberia 
in the Developed Neolithic Period. Although corded 
ceramics with externally thickened rims appeared 
first in the territory occupied by a single ethnic group, 
its spread from the Yenisey River to the Okhostk 
Sea, and from the East Sayan Mountains and the 
Yablonovy Range to the northern coastal regions does 
not mean that this entire region was invaded by a 
single ethnic group. Rather it was the new "ceramic 
fashion" that spread, and this fashion was perceived 
differently in different regions. We find one variety 
of corded ceramics in the Angara-Baikal region 
and, judging by some isolated finds, in Evenkia (the 
Posolsk ceramics). The Belkachi ceramics are found 
in the southeastern and central parts of Yakutia; from 
there, Belkachi ceramics were brought to Taymyr and 
far northeastern Asia. The third variant, net ceramics 
with thickened rims, is present at Maimeche sites in 
East Taymyr. 

All of these varieties were probably connected 
with different ethnic communities that appeared in 
the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic, lurii A. Mochanov 
has written that Belkachi ceramics "can be considered 
to be a proper technological adoption rather than 
connected with the arrival of a new ethnos" and 
"the Belkachi culture appeared as a result of the 
autochthonous development of the Neolithic tribes of 
Yakutia, influenced by contacts with the population 
of adjacent regions" (Mochanov 1969:181). This 
may also be true for Maimeche culture, which 
resulted from cultural development of part of the 
Neolithic population of Yakutia and eastern Taymyr. 
Its association with Belkachi culture manifests itself 
not only in ceramics but also in its lithic inventory. 
We shall have to enumerate almost all of the tool 
types found at Maimeche sites if we are to compare 



them with tools found at Neolithic sites in Yakutia. 
Nevertheless, the presence of certain ceramics and 
ornaments at Maimeche sites demonstrates the 
special character of such assemblages. 

There are other sites in Taymyr, besides Maimeche, 
with net ceramics that date to the third millennium 
B.C. Ceramics with large square net-mesh impressions 
were found at Abylaakh IV, located on the right bank 
of the Kheta River one kilometer downstream from 
Abylaakh I. The net was woven from thin threads. The 
thickness of the sherds is 6 millimeters. Fragments 
of a thin-walled vessel (2.5 to 4 mm) with a smooth 
surface and bearing waffle-like impressions were also 
found. This vessel dates to the Early Iron Age and 
was associated with forty-four prismatic blades and 
a single ridge flake in the cultural layer. Only three 
blades were made of chalcedony and one of flinty 
slate, while the others, as well as a flake removed 
from a flat-backed core, were of white flinty rock. 
Numerous small flakes are of the same raw material. 
Three of the blades show marginal retouch, which 
occurred when the tools were used for scraping and 
cutting. A dihedral burin was made of a flake of 

1 3 cm 

I I I I 

47/ Lithic from Dyupkun Lake (left) and iron knife 
from Lake Giubokoye (right). 

some kind of white rock. A shouldered perforator 
on a flake and a knife-endscraper were made of the 
same raw material. In addition to these tools, there 
was also a fragment of a chalcedony endscraper, two 
retouched chalcedony flakes used for scraping, and a 
large whetstone made from a slab of gray flinty slate. 
Two sides of this piece and numerous grooves on its 
surface were apparently used to sharpen metal tools. 
This artifact is the only object in the assemblage 
that can be connected with the waffle ceramics. The 
remaining tools, together with the net ceramics, date 
to the Developed Neolithic. 

Small sherds of net ceramics and flakes of flinty 
slate, chalcedony, and flint were found at Ust-Boyarka, 
on a point downstream from where the Boyarka River 
flows into the Kheta. Fragments of net ceramics were 
also found among fragments of Early Iron Age vessels 
on sites such as Malaya Korennaya I and III on the 
FVasina River. These sites yielded stone tools and 
blades that date to the Developed Neolithic. 

There are several sites that lack ceramics but, 
judging by the lithic inventory and raw materials (pink 
jasper, flinty slate, and chalcedony), are nonetheless 

48/ Ceramics from Istok Pyasiny (1) and Ust- 
Polovinka (2, 3). 



similar to Belkachi and Maimeche sites. These sites 
(Novaya VIII, Khargy I and II, Labaz I, V, VIII-XII, 
Tagenar IV and V, Tagenar Lake III, Volochanka II) 
can be dated to the third and the first half of the 
second millennium B.C. Different raw materials 
are represented at Crestovy Mys, Bludnaya I, and 
Novorybnoye V. 

I have identified these sites as Neolithic, but I may 
be in error, as many Neolithic-type tools continued 
to be manufactured into the Early Bronze Age. Only 
a small number of tool types help us identify non- 
ceramic sites that date to the Early Bronze Age. 
Another diagnostic feature is the widespread use of 

In the southern part of Taymyr, the Developed 
Neolithic is represented by a large spearhead (Fig. 
47: 1 ) found on the northwestern shore of Dyupkun 
Lake (Khiobystin and Studzitskaia 1976). In size, 
shape, and treatment it resembles some knives and 
daggers from the Poligus and Baikit sites on the 
Podkamennaya Tunguska River and from the Tura 
I site (all of which were investigated by Andreev) as 
well as finds from the Serovo burials in the Baikal 
region (Okladnikov 1950c:figs. 63-65). Two small 
sites situated on the same shore of Dyupkun Lake 
can be dated to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age 
(Khiobystin 1978a). 

A site with ceramics of another type existed 
in western Taymyr in the third millennium B.C. 
at the same time that net ceramics were in use 
elsewhere. This site was uncovered at the stratified 
Ust-Polovinka settlement, located on the left bank 
of the Pyasina River downstream from the mouth of 
the Polovinka River, a tributary of the Pyasina. Here 
in sandy deposits on the first terrace, cultural layers 
contained the remains of several settlements that 
replaced each other over several centuries beginning 
in the middle of the first millennium B.C. I shall 
describe the finds connected with these settlements 
in Chapter 4, but turn now to the description of 
materials from the earliest cultural layer, which dates 
to the Neolithic. 

The terrace had been damaged by numerous 
blowouts, but a small section with undisturbed 
cultural deposits had been preserved and excavations 
were carried out in these sections. The remains of 
the earliest cultural layer were noted near Excavation 
Area III in one of the blowouts. The overlying deposits 
had been eroded but thanks to the firmness of the 
humus layer, a small section of the cultural layer 
was protected from destruction. According to the 
profile, the depth of overlying sediments was about 
0.8 meters. The cultural layer was discovered in 
a 1.5 square meter area and consisted of a thin 
(0.5 to 1.5 cm) lens saturated with charcoal and 
humus, underlain by pure, coarse-grained sand. The 
concentration of charcoal fragments was extremely 
high in one area in this layer. This may have been a 
hearth, for we found fragments of the upper part of 
a pot (Fig. 48:2, 3). 

The clay used for shaping the pot contained grit. 
The rim of the vessel is slightly everted, and the 
edge of the rim is flat and covered with impressions 
made by a stick with a triangular notched end. The 
reddish-brown exterior of the sherd was decorated 
with the same type of ornament. Three decorative 
lines are found under the rim while other lines, 
made using the same stick, diverge from them 
at a sharp angle and descend toward the bottom, 
leaving a triangular zone devoid of imprints. A 
row of small shallow pits also encircles the vessel 
beneath the rim. The thickness of the vessel walls 
is 7 millimeters, and toward the rim the thickness 
decreases to 8 millimeters. In addition to this 
sherd, the layer contained a perforator made from 
a blade of flinty slate. One of its ends was formed 
as a point with an oblique edge by small sharpening 
retouch. The retouch was made along both edges 
from the ventral side and on the oblique end from 
the dorsal side. 

One radiocarbon date was obtained on charcoal 
from the cultural layer. According to this date the 
age of the layer is 4060 ± 1 20 B.P. (LE 1 01 7), about 
2110 years B.C. The date corresponds to the ceramic 



materials, which appearto be Neolithic. The Neolithic 
ceramics that were found at the Ust-Polovinka site 
have no analogues among the ceramics from the 
Lena Basin. Even if such ceramics were to be found 
there some day, we would have to consider them to 
be unrelated because they would have typological 
roots neither in the Syalakh culture, nor among 
the ceramic materials of Belkachi. Ceramics similar 
to those from Ust-Polovinka are found in the taiga 
regions south of Taymyr, on the right tributaries of 
the Yenisey River. 

In 1963, during a survey of sites in the vicinity 
of Baikit village, situated at the middle course of 
the Podkamennaya Tunguska, Andreev collected 
ceramics that he described as "very original" (Andreev 
and Fomin 1964:94, fig. 27:4). They lay in a place 
designated Point I and were associated with various 
stone artifacts. Andreev gave only a brief description 
of these ceramics (Andreev 1963), represented by 
only a few sherds from several vessels. Their rims are 
thickened relative to their walls and slightly turned 
in. Edges of the rims are decorated with oblique 
lines made by a rocker stamp. There are small round 
pits beneath the edges of the rim. The same lines 
cover the exterior of the vessels, and on some of 
the sherds the lines form a string of triangles. This 
design was noted in the article by Andreev. However, 
there are some sherds in the collection that display 
a zonal design: several sherds carry horizontal lines 
from which other lines, made by a rocker stamp, 
diverge symmetrically at a 60 degree angle. The 
ceramics are well-fired and the temper contains grit. 
No base fragments were identified. Andreev later 
found fragments of vessels covered with comb or 
smooth stamp impressions at Baikit I (Andreev and 
Fomin 1966:106, Fig. 46:6, 7, 9). Rows of oblique 
impressions alternate with horizontal zigzags. 
Andreev considered both types of ceramics identical 
to ceramics from the Chadobetz site on the Middle 
Angara. The question of the coexistence of these two 
types remains open, although there is no doubt that 
they belong to different cultures. 

Because the Baikit I materials were surface 
finds, it is impossible to associate the lithics with 
a given ceramic type. However, the lithic inventory 
contains some types that could not belong to the 
same complex as the ceramics. Stone artifacts are 
represented by triangular arrowheads with straight 
bases, fragments of retouched knives with convex 
backs, endscrapers on flakes, and large knife-like 
blades. There are blanks, fragments, and intact 
specimens of rectangular ground adzes that are 
common on taiga sites but rare in the tundra. There 
are twice as many flakes as blades. Blades were used 
as knives and show evidence of utilization. These 
blades were removed from prismatic and conical 
cores. Only five cores were found, but their actual 
number must have been considerably greater. The 
majority of artifacts are made of hornstone-like rocks, 
in addition to raw materials such as dolerite, jasper, 
and other flinty rocks. 

Andreev dated these materials from the end of the 
third to the beginning of the second millennium B.C. 
However, we have every reason to date the linear-pit 
sherds to the middle and second half of the third 
millennium B.C. 

The comparison of the linear ceramics from 
Baikit I with those from the Polovinka River mouth 
demonstrates a great resemblance between the 
pots manufactured by the Neolithic inhabitants of 
the Pyasina River and those of the Podkamennaya 
Tunguska River. These ceramics can be combined into 
a single type— the Baikit type. The correspondence 
between the dates proposed by Andreev with the 
radiocarbon dates enables us to assign the Baikit 
ceramics distributed on the banks of the Yenisey 
in Evenkia and on Taymyr to the end of the third 
millennium B.C. The discovery of these ceramics 
on the Pyasina River reflects the penetration of 
their makers from Evenkia into Taymyr. The fact 
that the Baikit ceramic complex differs sharply 
from the coeval ceramic materials of East Siberia 
demonstrates the ethnic independence of its creators 
and the distinctiveness of their culture. It seems 



likely, therefore, that a distinct Baikit culture will be 
identified in the future. 

The similarity of the Baikit ceramics to those from 
the Trans-Ural region was noted for the first time 
by Chernetsov, who compared the Baikit materials 
with the ceramics of Kozlov Mys I, which is situated 
on the shore of Lake Andreyevskoe in the Tyumen 
region. Chernetsov believed that the entire Neolithic 
complex of the Middle Yenisey, the Lower Angara, 
and the Podkamennaya Tunguska was similar to 
collections from the second and third stages of the 
Ural Neolithic, except for some intrusive forms that 
appeared here from the areas occupied by the Serovo 
and Kitoy cultures (Chernetsov 1 964:8). Referring in 
particular to Andreev's Evenkia finds and to my own 
in Taymyr, Chernetsov proposed that the ancient 
inhabitants of the Ural region, moving northeast, 
settled as early as the fourth millennium B.C. on 
the Middle and Lower Yenisey, including the lower 
reaches of its right bank tributaries, incorporating 
these regions into the Ural-West Siberian Neolithic 
and Bronze Age cultural community. 

As early as 1947, Okladnikov wrote about the 
advance of the East Ural Neolithic and Bronze Age 
culture to the Yenisey (Okladnikov 1948:20). On 
the Middle Yenisey, near Krasnoyarsk, this culture 
bordered upon the large cultural area of the 
Baikal Neolithic, which occupied the entire Angara 
Valley and the territories adjacent to Lake Baikal 
(Okladnikov 1950a:28). Excavations carried out 
subsequently in the submerged area near the Bratsk 
hydroelectric station yielded ceramics decorated 
with comb stamped belts that permit us to discuss 
the penetration of the West Siberian population 
into the Middle Angara (Okladnikov 1958). This is 
why Okladnikov, when publishing the Neolithic and 
Bronze Age materials from sites such as Bazaikha 
and Sobakinskaya in the Krasnoyarsk region and 
noting the decoration similarto that the of the Trans- 
Ural ceramics, came to the conclusion that cultural 
influence from the Yenisey to the east had reached 
the Oka River in the Angara Basin and probably 

penetrated the Angara to the Upper Lena (Okladnikov 
1957). Okladnikov connected the Middle Yenisey 
finds with the ancestors of Samoyedic peoples who 
had come, in his view, from the west— from the Ural 

Chernetsov thought that the eastern members of 
the ethno-cultural community that existed at one time 
in the territory stretching from Scandinavia to Taymyr 
were the ancestors of the Yukagir (Chernetsov 
1 964:5, 9, 1 0). Indeed, the designs on Baikit ceramics 
are similar to some of the decorative patterns found 
on Kozlovskaya vessels from the Trans-Ural Neolithic 
(Bader 1970:162; Chernetsov 1968). Chernetsov 
and Bader connected the origin of this style with the 
influence of the Kelteminar culture. 

Melent'iev (1 978) discovered a series of sites in 
the Trans-Caspian area that are similar to Trans-Ural 
sites. This similarity confirms that the formation of 
the Trans-Ural forest Neolithic was influenced by the 
southern cultures. The appearance of the Neolithic 
in this region dates to the end of the fifth and the 
beginning of the fourth millennium B.C. (Bader 
1 970; Chernetsov 1 968; Krizhevskaia 1 968; Starkov 
1 980). The origins of this process may date to the 
middle of the fifth millennium B.C. From the very 
beginning, the Trans-Ural Neolithic was characterized 
by ceramics with linear-pit and wavy-drawn designs. 
This design style persisted, judging from sites of 
the Koshkinskaya culture of the Tobol River basin 
and the left bank of the Lower Irtysh (Khiobystin 
1 979b; Kovaleva 1 979; Kovaleva and Varankin 1 976; 
Kovaleva and Potemkina 1980; Krizhevskaia 1970), 
into the Late Neolithic when, at the same time, the 
comb design tradition was developing. 

In the eastern region of West Siberia, sites with 
Early Neolithic ceramics are not known. On the Upper 
and Middle Ob there is a group of sites dated to the 
Developed and Late Neolithic (Matiushchenko 1 973; 
Molodin 1977). Some of these sites, belonging to 
different stages of the Verkhneobskaya culture 
(Zavyalovo 8, Kiprino), or situated north in the taiga 
zone of the Vakh Basin (Bolshoy Laryak II), contain 



ceramics with linear-pit ornamentation, and there are 
overlapping triangles among them (Molodin 1977: 
table III: 5, XII: 2; Posrednikov 1 973a:table 2:2, 3, 
5, 7). These sites, which date from the end of the 
fourth to the second half of the third millennium 
B.C., probably appeared under the influence of 
Trans-Ural cultures, perhaps as a result of direct 
eastward penetration of their carriers. This design 
tradition persisted through the middle of the second 
millennium B.C., enabling Mikhail F. Kosarev to call 
the Late Neolithic ornamental style of the Upper and 
Middle Ob area "autochthonous" (Kosarev 1972). 
Naturally, the origin of Baikit ceramics may be found 
among these very sites. 

Most similar to the Baikit ceramics is material from 
Novokuskovo on the Chulym River. Different opinions 
exist about the age of the site. Matyushchenko related 
Novokuskovo to the Verkhneobskaya (the Upper Ob 
area) Neolithic culture and dated it to the fourth and 
end of the third millennium B.C. (Matiushchenko 
1 966, 1 973), while Kosarev assigned it to the Samus 
culture (fourteenth through thirteenth centuries B.C.), 
assuming that the settlement was occupied from the 
end of the Neolithic onward (Kosarev 1 974:5 1 -55). 
Indeed, there are types of ceramics belonging to 
different time periods among the materials collected. 
There are fragments of thick-walled vessels (1 2 to 1 3 
mm thick) with smooth external surfaces decorated 
with obliquely placed lines of rocker stamping. These 
lines are sometimes combined with triangles. The 
sherds contain an admixture of grog and grit. These 
sherds differ to some extent from Samus ceramics 
and can be considered Neolithic, of the Baikit ceramic 

In Evenkia, ceramics decorated with pricked lines 
were discovered not only at Baikit I, but also at sites 
such as Baikit II and Ust-Kamo on the Podkamennaya 
Tunguska River (Andreev and Fomin 1 966). They are 
present among the material found by Khoroshikh 
during the survey of the Nizhnyaya Tunguska River 
(Khoroshikh 1949). However, these ceramics differ 
in a number of attributes from the Baikit type and 

can be compared with the later Glazkovo ceramics of 
the Baikal region. In Yakutia, where cut and stamped 
patterns are found, this method of ornamentation 
was not used in the Neolithic. Based on available 
samples, this form of decoration came into use in 
Yakutia no earlier than the first millennium B.C. 
(Okladnikov 1 950b:table V). The ceramics with such 
ornamentation are widely distributed in the Angara 
region and the Baikal area. 

Sherds of net ceramics decorated with pricked 
lines were found in Layer IX of the Ulan-Khada site 
on Lake Baikal. Evidently, we must date them to the 
early stages of the Serovo culture (Khiobystin 1 964a), 
although this sort of decoration appears on Posolsk- 
type vessels. Given the occurrence of the Posolsk 
ceramics at stratified sites such as Ulan-Khada, 
Gorely Les, and Kazachka, they date from the end of 
the fourth to the beginning of the third millennium 
B.C. Perhaps the appearance of the linear-pricked 
ornamentation on this ceramic type resulted from the 
influence of West Siberian Neolithic cultures. In this 
respect it is worthy to note that the pricked lines on 
the ceramics are thin, resembling the linear-pricked 
ceramics of West Siberia. On the later East Siberian 
ceramics, the lines were made using broader sticks. 
The decoration on the net ceramics of Ulan-Khada 
appeared as a result of influence from the Posolsk 
ceramic tradition— in other words, net ceramics 
coexisted for some time with Posolsk ceramics. 

A pot covered with cord impressions and prick 
marks was found together with net ceramics in 
Layer VII of the Kazachka site on the Kan River 
(Generalov 1979a, b). This pot is nearly identical to 
the Posolsk ceramics, and its presence in Layer VII, 
associated with net ceramics, leads one to suppose 
that the formation of the layer went on at least until 
the end of the fourth millennium B.C., if not later. 
The radiocarbon date obtained for Layer VI (6660 ± 
190 B.P., LE 1231) is probably incorrect. This layer 
yielded fragments of pots decorated with horizontal 
pricked lines, or by lines of pricked comb and smooth 



At the Gorely Les site on the Belaya River, a 
tributary of the Angara, similar ceramics (which I 
call "West Angara") were found in Layer IV, above the 
Posolsk ceramics (Savel'ev et al. 1974). Frequently 
West Angara ceramics have a few widely scattered 
belts of round pits above the main design. This 
tradition is typical of western Siberia during the 
Neolithic and the Bronze Age. Besides Kazachka, 
examples of this decoration were found on sites such 
as Atalanga on the Ilym River, Mironovo on the Uda 
River, and on the site at the Belaya River mouth. The 
most plausable date for the West Angara ceramics 
is the middle of the third millennium B.C., assuming 
that the Posolsk ceramics date to the first half of the 
third millennium. 

The ceramics from Layer Ma of the site at the 
Belaya River mouth are worthy of special note. Its 
paraboloid vessels were decorated with the aid of 
a stamp. A pattern of parallel horizontal zigzags is 
characteristic of this type. Similar vessels occurred in 
Layer IX at Ulan-Khada, where they were associated 
with fragments of net and Posolsk ware. They lay 
at the bottom of the bed in association with Layers 
II through VIII. These ceramics (Ustbelskaya) are 
a distinct type that may have been brought from 
western Siberia and the Trans-Ural region (Savel'ev 
and Medvedev 1 973:63). On the Middle Yenisey, the 
vessels decorated with pricked lines were found at a 
series of sites (Ladeiki, Bazaikha, etc.). On ceramics 
from Unyuk, these lines form designs composed 
of horizontal lines, zigzags, and oblique lines. In 
addition to these ceramics, which resemble both 
West Angara and Ustbelskaya types, pots decorated 
completely by comb stamp impressions were found. 
One of the pots had aflat bottom. The pots decorated 
with impressions shaped like insect larvae and with 
flattened bottoms were found at Ust-Sobakinskaya. 
This may be the result of East Siberian influence, 
where flat-bottomed vessels appeared as early as 
the Neolithic. 

It is difficult to say whether the Baikit ceramics 
were connected with the Early Neolithic ceramics 

of Trans-Ural and western Siberia, or whether they 
represent an isolated variant of the "autochthonous" 
Neolithic culture of the Ob region. On the whole, 
in spite of some ornamental peculiarities, they 
correspond well to ceramics from Angara sites that 
contain West Angara and Ustbelskaya ceramics and 
date to the second half of the third millennium B.C. 
These sites reflect a West Siberian influence that 
penetrated east from the Yenisey. Most likely, this 
influence resulted from population movements. 

The custom of decorating pots with pricked 
impressions has been noted in the region east of 
Lake Baikal in particular, on the Amur River, where 
these ceramics are represented by the Gromatukhino 
culture (Okladnikov and Derevianko 1977). Thus, 
during the Neolithic this method of ornamentation 
spread across the forest-steppe zone in the southern 
region of eastern Siberia, as far as the Amur region and 
the littoral area. Its absence from the Yakut province 
in the East Siberian Neolithic was undoubtedly 
connected with ethno-cultural processes. 

However, it is reasonable to propose that these 
ornamental traditions were brought by different 
groups having different origins. In Evenkia ceramics 
with comb ornamentation can be typologically divided 
into early and late. Thus the comb ceramics from 
Baikit I belong to the early type. The ceramics coming 
from the site at the mouth of the Podkamennaya 
Tunguska River should be considered later. They 
are decorated with rows of comb impressions in 
which small pairs of pits are placed on the combed 
pattern (Andreev and Fomin 1 966:1 09, Fig. 45:1 0). 
This design is characteristic of the Early Bronze Age 
of West Siberia. 

The use of stamps to create decorative impressions 
is characteristic of the end of the Bronze Age. This is 
confirmed by finds from the Surgutikha site, situated 
on the river of the same name, a left tributary of the 
Yenisey (Nikolaev 1963b:127, table 8), and by the 
ceramics of the Pyasina culture of Taymyr, discussed 
in Chapter 4. This phenomenon is probably due to 
the confluence of two ornamental traditions that 



resulted either from mutual interaction or influence, 
or as a result of direct assimilative contacts between 
different groups. 

The third millennium B.C. was for Taymyr and 
for the Yenisey's right-bank region the period when 

two cultural traditions with roots in West and East 
Siberia met for the first time. Their interaction was not 
perceptible in the Neolithic Period, but it manifested 
itself clearly in the Bronze Age, when a new population 
from East Siberia penetrated Taymyr. 



49/ Taymyr boreal forest landscape near the abandoned village of Dolgany, on the upper Avam River, 1996. 
The river never freezes here because of the running water. Photographer John Ziker. 

atjmijP m 


aritj ^ro nze /\ge 

The availability of natural resources—food, material 
for clothing, and heat for dwellings and cooking- 
determines, to a great extent, why certain regions 
are populated. There were periods in human history 
when climatic changes brought about the coloniza- 
tion of new territories or the depopulation of formerly 
inhabited areas. 

The explanation of the relationship between 
environmental and cultural change is a major sub- 
ject of study in archaeology. The colonization of 
the Eurasian Far North was intimately related to the 
Climatic Optimum, a time when forest vegetation 
shifted northward. The Holocene Climatic Optimum 
roughly dates from 7500 to 4500 B.P. (Kind 1 974); 
this span of time includes all known dates of 
Mesolithic and Early Neolithic sites in the Eurasian 
Arctic. It is important to determine the time when 
forest landscapes in the high latitudes were replaced 
by the tundra that still exists today and to identify 
attendant historical and cultural processes. 

Climatic Changes in the Late Holocene 

Scholars of climate change give different dates for 
the beginning of the deterioration that led to the 
alteration of vegetation zones. According to Blitt- 
Sernander's scheme, which is supported by many 
specialists, climatic deterioration coincided with the 
beginning of the Sub-Atlantic Period (ca. 500 B.C.). 
According to G. M. Levkovskaia, the transformation 
of natural conditions occurred in the Arctic between 
3500 and 3000 B.P. (Levkovskaia 1977). However, 

some palaeogeographers believe that deterioration 
began at the boundary of the Atlantic and the Sub- 
Boreal, roughly corresponding to the mid-third mil- 
lennium B.C. (Khotinskii 1971; Kind 1 974; Lavrushin 
et al. 1963). 

Indeed, judging by the Karginsky peat bog, the 
population of the Arctic first felt climatic deterioration 
around 4500 B.P. when the Karginsky Cape forest 
gave way to forest-tundra. However, the effects of 
that deterioration on the vegetation, animals, and life- 
way of humans were particularly manifest in the latter 
half of the second millennium B.C. (3375 ± 35 B.P.). 
This date was obtained from a layer of the Karginsky 
bog that showed drastic retardation in the growth and 
replacement of forest-tundra vegetation by southern 
tundra associations (Firsov et al. 1 974). 

According to CM. Levkovskaia, in West Siberia 
the tundra expansion phase occurred after 3600 ± 
1 70 B.P. (LG 34). According to H. Nichols, the cold, 
dry climate began in northern Canada around 3200 
B.P. (Nichols 1971). About 3000 B.P., the Polar Basin 
was again covered with a mantle of ice; between 2500 
and 1 500 B.P. its ice cover was comparable to the 
present (Borisov 1 968). 

Permafrost development resulted in the destruc- 
tion of tree vegetation. Analysis of tree microfossils 
and pollen from the Taymyr tundra indicates that all 
of these fossils date prior to the second millennium 
B.C. Thus, all available evidence indicates that by the 
end of the second millennium B.C. the tundra zone 
had expanded to its present limits and the climate 


was roughly the same as today, although somewhat 
drier. There are grounds to believe that it was dur- 
ing the second half of the Sub-Boreal that the Arctic 
became an extreme zone characterized by long and 
severe winters; short, cool summers with occasional 
high temperatures; frequent strong winds; and 
magnetic disturbances due to the proximity of the 
magnetic pole; as well as the long polar nights and 
summer days without sunset that are the hallmarks 
of the north. In addition to these challenges were the 
monotonous, desolate landscapes and the paucity of 
animal and plant life. In Taymyr, with its continental 
temperatures, these characteristics take particularly 
harsh forms. 

The expansion of the tundra zone also affected 
the behavior of animals— reindeer in particular. The 
seasonal migrations of reindeer herds became longer 
due to the increased distance between their summer 
grounds in the northern tundra and their winter 
taiga forest retreats. Specialists in reindeer breeding 
have calculated the capacity of reindeer pastures 
(Syroechkovskii 1 975). Their calculations show that 
the capacity of tundra and forest-tundra reindeer 
pastures is roughly twice that of the taiga zone. 
Therefore, expansion of the tundra and forest-tundra 
promoted an increase in the population of reindeer, 
the principal game animal in the Far North. 

Climatic and environmental changes never 
failed to influence Taymyr inhabitants; their culture 
and economy in particular had to adapt to the new 
circumstances. These adaptations produced a cul- 
ture of reindeer hunters studied by I.B. Simchenko 
(1976). Although this adaptation served as a buffer 
between human society and nature, climate condi- 
tions in the polar region in the second half of the 
Sub-Boreal were generally unfavorable to humans. 
Certain accommodations to some of these condi- 
tions, for example, the long nights, were presum- 
ably developed by the first inhabitants of the Far 
North. The new conditions, however, necessitated 
acclimatization that contributed to genetic variation 
in human populations on the extreme fringe of the 

oecumene or inhabited world, eventually leading to 
the formation of distinctive indigenous ethnic groups 
on the Taymyr Peninsula— the Nganasan— as well as 
the Chukchi and Eskimo (Alekseev 1968; Alekseeva 
1977; Zolotareva 1962). 

Over the course of three thousand years since 
the formation of extreme climatic conditions in the 
Siberian polar region, the climate underwent several 
changes. According to Nichols, the cold minimum on 
the arctic coast of Canada occurred in the last cen- 
turies B.C.; then, in the first centuries A.D., around 
1 800 B.P., temperatures began to rise. The fact that 
the climate in the first millennium B.C. became milder 
and more humid is also indicated by pollen analyses 
from West Siberia, which show a spruce pollen peak 
(Levkovskaia 1 971). 

The stratified Ust-Polovinka settlement on the 
Taymyr Peninsula had a stratigraphic section dating 
from the mid-first millennium B.C. to the present. 
Radiocarbon dates from this location make it possible 
to date the pollen diagram drawn by Levkovskaia on 
the basis of specimens from the second dig (Fig. 50). 
In the mid-first millennium B.C., there was some tree 
vegetation in the Pyasina culture area, but most of 
this territory was occupied by moss-tundra (Specimen 
1 8, depth 85 cm), and subsequently, by forest-tundra 
(Specimen 17, depth 80 cm). The vegetation com- 
prised a scattered spruce-larch forest, alder thickets, 
grass communities associated with sedge, various 
herbs, and moss. 

After 150 B.C. (Specimen 14, depth 70 cm), an 
improvement in climate led to increased forest devel- 
opment, and tree pollen rises to 74.7%. Coniferous 
trees play a greater role in forest formation, with 
their pollen accounting for 78.8%. Spruce pollen, at 
37%, is the highest. At the end of this phase, pollen 
of Siberian cedar and fir began to occur, indicating 
the northward shift of the northern taiga forest. 
Grass associations at that time were already being 
formed mainly by various herbs rather than by sedge. 
Whether or not cedar or fir were present remains an 
open question, but the presence of their pollen indi- 



cates a northward shift of the northern tree border. 
This vegetational phase dates to 920 ± 100 B.P. (LE 
1 1 48), or A.D. 1 030, and comes from Specimen 1 
at a depth of 50 centimeters. 

Beginning at the buried soil level (Specimen 6, 
depth 30 cm), the tree pollen content of the spectra 
decreases considerably, to between 32 and 37%. The 
role of coniferous trees in forest formation gradually 
declined, as seen by a decline in tree pollen from 
74% at the beginning to 26% at the end. The grass 
associations in that period are formed primarily by 
sedge, and various herbs become less common. At 
the end of the phase, spruce had practically vanished. 
Spruce pollen content does not exceed 2 to 2.8%, 
whereas in surface samples from spruce-vegetated 
areas it generally accounts for 1 0%. 

The buried soil layer was encountered in other 
tests at Ust-Polovinka, as well as in a section and 
some pits of Tagenar VI, where it is generally 
accompanied by permafrost. The dating of Layer 1 a 
was accomplished using observations of the dead 
vegetation at Dyuna III, located 20 kilometers down 
the FVasina River from the Ust-Polovinka site. There, 

above the remains of a dwelling built of poles, long 
slender larch trunks, sheets of bark, and stumps of 
large larch trees were found buried in the sand. As 
the dwelling is dated to A.D. 900 and the buried trees 
were at least two hundred years old, their destruc- 
tion by the dune must have occurred in the twelfth 
or thirteenth century. Therefore, the initial growth of 
the trees occurred in the tenth or eleventh century, 
when the soil layer dated to A.D. 1030 was being 

It is not clear whether dune formation was due 
to increasing continentality or to local factors. The 
formation of the soil occurred during a warm phase 
followed by a climatic change with higher continen- 
tality and lower temperatures. As a result, the soil 
was disturbed by cryogenic processes. This change 
probably began in the thirteenth century and reached 
its maximum — known as the "Little Ice Age," or 
LIA— between the sixteenth and the first half of the 
nineteenth century. The LIA is separated from the last 
climatic deterioration at the end of the first millen- 
nium B.C. by a period of 1 800 to 1 900 years, which 
corresponds to the climatic fluctuations identified 

-6 |, ' >| -7 I « I -8 I 920 I - 9 I -H I - 10 \'.'^2\ 

50/ Pollen diagram of samples from Ust-Polovinka. Palynologist CM. Levkovskaia. 



by A.V. Shnitnikov (1 957) and the periodic fourth 
order variations of the climate defined by Sinitsyn 
(1 965). It is noteworthy that in the fifteenth century 
[ca. A.D. 1 450], Norse settlements disappeared from 
Greenland (Henning 1 962:432, 433). The second half 
of the nineteenth century is marked by a warming 
of the Arctic. The deterioration of the climate in the 
second millennium B.C. did not have such a perni- 
cious effect on polar hunters as the Little Ice Age did 
on Greenland's Norse agriculturists. 

The ancient ethnic groups of the Arctic did not 
leave the polar regions and adapted to the tundra 
and forest-tundra zones that had shifted south. On 
the other hand, the major cultural transformations 
that were taking place due to the migrations of the 
Andronovo groups, who were forced by a drought to 
leave some steppe regions (Khiobystin 1 976:38-45; 
Kosarev 1974:31), brought new populations and 
skills into and beyond the Arctic Circle. Of these new 
skills, bronze casting was the most important. 

The lowering of ocean levels that began in the 
mid-third millennium B.C. intensified the drainage of 
the West Siberian Lowlands, which together with the 
development of permafrost made northwest Siberia 
fit for extensive colonization by migrants from the 
south (Khiobystin and Levkovskaia 1974:239). The 
Polar Expedition discovered numerous sites on the 
Yamal Peninsula and in the lower Ob region that 
dated to the second millennium B.C., while only three 
sites dating to earlier times are known there. The 
appearance of the wide tundra expanses and perma- 
frost made speedy migrations possible latitudinally 
in both winter and summer. Among other things it 
promoted the distribution of waffle pottery in the 
Eurasian Arctic; this pottery is one of the character- 
istic features of Ymiyakhtakh culture. 

The Ymiyakhtakh Culture of Taymyr 

Waffle pottery settlements were first discovered in 
Yakutia by A. P. Okladnikov, who associated them 
with the Late Neolithic or the Early Bronze Age and 

to the Glazkovo culture material from the Lake 
Baikal region dating to the second millennium B.C. 
(Okladnikov 1946, 1950b). When I published the 
Buolkalaakh assemblage, which had been found in 
1 961 on the left tributary of the Olenek River, I dated 
it to the Bronze Age, between the second and first mil- 
lennium B.C. (Glushinskii and Khiobystin 1 966). The 
assemblage included fragments of pots with broad 
sub-conical bodies and hair-tempered spherical ves- 
sels with waffle impressions on their surfaces. Rims 
of the vessels were slightly everted. Tools made of 
flinty slate included trihedral arrowheads, triangular 
and trapeziform endscrapers, and a large spearhead. 
There were also prismatic blades, tools made on 
blades, and a perforator with a trihedral stem. Vessel 
form, the way in which they were manufactured, and 
the methods of processing stone tools have been 
compared with the materials from the Lena sites 
discovered Okladnikov and led to the conclusion that 
the Olenek Basin had been part of the same culture 
zone that included the contemporary Buolkalaakh 
sites of the Lena Basin. 

Subsequently lurii A. Mochanov identified the 
Ymiyakhtakh culture (Fedoseeva 1980; Mochanov 
1969), to which the Buolkalaakh complex may be 
attributed. Mochanov ascribes this culture to the Late 
Neolithic, between 3900 and 3100 B.P. (Mochanov 
and Fedoseeva 1 975a, b). Two dates used to define 
the period, 3900 ± 50 (LE 858) from Layer 8 of the 
Sumnagin I site and 3800 ± 1 00 B.P. (LE 1 025) from 
the Chuchur-Muran burial ground, give rise to doubts 
about their correctness. A date of 3750 ± 50 (LE 859) 
is available for Layer 9 of Sumnagin I, and there is 
another date for Layer 8: 3310 ± 1 30 (LE 874). The 
remaining dates are concentrated in the last centuries 
of the second millennium B.C. 

The Ymiyakhtakh culture is characterized by 
broad, sub-conical and spherical pots and by round- 
based bowls tempered with hair. The surface of 
the vessels may be smooth, ribbed, or have check- 
stamped (waffle) impressions. The cells of the waffle 
pattern are usually small, measuring 5 by 5 millime- 



ters. Vessels were ornamented with a row of pits 
under the rim and sometimes with linear designs. 

The stone assemblage is remarkable for its 
diversity and high quality of workmanship. The most 
common tool types are trihedral arrowheads— trian- 
gular points with straight lateral edges and straight 
or concave bases. Elongated tanged arrowheads are 
also present. Endscrapers are carefully flaked over 
their entire surfaces and are consistently triangular 
or trapezoidal in form. Multifaceted burins are char- 
acteristic of this assemblage. On some sites with 
check-stamped ceramics, bronze casting materials 
were also found: drops of bronze and crucible frag- 
ments. Sites with waffle ceramics are widespread 
across East Siberia, but not all are associated with 
Ymiyakhtakh culture. Sometimes this pattern is found 
on Glazkovo ceramics. It has also been observed in 
cultures post-dating the Ymiyakhtakh culture. 

A number of Ymiyakhtakh sites have been found 
in Taymyr. The most significant among them is 
Abylaakh I (Figs. 51-58). This site was mentioned 
in Chapter 2 in connection with the Early Neolithic 
complex associated with its lower layer. Its upper 
layer contained traces of an Ymiyakhtakh settlement. 
The Ymiyakhtakh materials lay directly beneath the 
turf layer at a depth of 7 to 1 centimeters in a yel- 
low sand layer 2 to 1 5 centimeters thick (Fig. 25). 
The sand was intermixed with a brownish-gray loam 
that underlay it. The layer was disturbed by cryogenic 
deformation and some materials had fallen through 
fissures into underlying deposits. Artifacts were scat- 
tered all over the yellow layer and were not associated 
with any single horizon. In some places they formed 
small accumulations near hearths. Six hearths and 
three fire-reddened areas were found in the layer. 

Hearth 1 was situated in the southeastern part of 
the excavation area near the edge of the point occu- 
pied by the site. It was about 1 .5 meters in diameter 
and had a round outline. The hearth was indicated 
by a lens-like red spot containing charcoal and had 
a maximum thickness of 8 cm. There was an accu- 
mulation of burned, fire-cracked stones and pebbles 

in the center of the hearth with a thin charcoal lens 
nearby. A large stone lay on the southeastern edge 
of the hearth, surrounded by a charcoal layer. An 
arrowhead, an endscraper, flakes, knife-like blades 
and fragments of ceramics were found near the 

Hearth 2 was situated in the center of the excava- 
tion area. It was elongated (1 by 1 .7 m) and appeared 
as a charcoal lens lying on the yellow sand level, over- 
lain by a layer of red, fire-burned loamy sand inter- 
mixed with charcoal. The eastern part of the hearth 
was destroyed by a large frozen wedge. The thickness 
of the hearth was 7 to 1 2 centimeters. Burned stones, 
pottery sherds, flakes, and calcined fish bones were 
scattered over the surface of the hearth. The area 
contained many decorated ceramic fragments and 
fragments of a crucible. A proximal fragment of a 
celt was found near the hearth in Square 9. 

Hearth 3 was also situated near the center of the 
excavation area, occupying the entirety of Square 
49, most of Square 50, and extending into adjacent 
squares. It also had an elongated outline (1.2 by 
2.1 m) and its charcoal layer was 7 cm thick, had a 
lens-like shape and lay on the yellow sand. This layer 
was overlapped by red loam and sand (6 cm). The 
eastern part of the hearth was damaged by a frost 
crack. Fragments of two crucibles, drops of bronze, 
pieces of decorated ceramics, small calcined bones, 
numerous small flakes, potsherds, and river pebbles 
were found in and near the hearth. One radiocarbon 
date of 3 1 00 ± 60 B.P. (LE 790), or about 1 1 50 years 
B.C., was obtained from this feature. 

East of Hearth 3 was an elongated (1.30 by 
2.36 m) reddened area with charcoal lenses in the 
loam and sand; the border overlapped Hearth 3. All 
artifacts were recovered in the red layer and nothing 
was found nearby. Among the artifacts were a piece 
of bronze, an arrowhead, an abrasive, fragments of 
two cores, knife-like blades, flakes, and ceramics. A 
pebble with damaged ends that had served as a ham- 
merstone and fragments of a crucible were found. 
Hearth 3 and the red spot near it were probably 



51/ Photo of excavations at Abylaakh I. Note antler in foreground. 

connected with bronze casting. Nearby to the north 
were a fragment of a clay mold for a celt or axe 
(Square 60) and fragments of a sandstone mold for 
casting an anthropomorphic figurine (Square 75). 

Hearth 4, with a diameter of 50 centimeters, 
was located on the edge of Squares 78 and 79. This 
feature was thin (0.5-1.5 cm) and had only a small 
amount of charcoal. Stone tools had been made 
nearby, judging from the accumulation of nearly 
one-fifth {n = 373) of all the flakes found at the site 
in this 6 square meter area. 

Hearths 5 and 6 were discovered in the southeast 
corner of the excavation area. They were situated 
side-by-side, but in different levels, with Hearth 5 
two to three centimeters below Hearth 6. The smaller 
Hearth 5 (40 cm in diameter) was situated on the 
boundary of Squares 113 and 116 and contained 
a flinty slate pebble. Hearth 6 was larger, about 2 
meters in diameter, but more diffuse and its charcoal 
lenses were contained within small pits. A large stone 
lay on the northern edge of the hearth. Few artifacts 
were found near these hearths. Small, thin areas of 
red, burned sand with small amounts of charcoal 
were found in Squares 21 and 39. As there were no 
depressions that could be interpreted as excavated 
dwellings, accommodations were probably surface 

Osteological materials were represented only by 
reindeer bones. Usually they were found individually 
and were poorly preserved. However, Square 35 had 
a large accumulation of bones that formed a decayed 
deposit 0.5 cm thick which extended into neighbor- 
ing squares. A worked piece of a reindeer antler lay 
in Square 34 (Fig. 51). 

The ceramics found in the upper cultural layer of 
Abylaakh I can be divided into two functional groups: 
a ware for daily use and articles involved in bronze 
casting. The ceramics are represented by fragments 
of at least nine vessels (Figs. 52-54). Unfortunately 
they are poorly preserved due to their friable nature; 
many sherds were destroyed in the fires where 
bronze melting had occurred. The earthenware paste 

contained an admixture of brittle hair, probably of 
reindeer. Up to three layers are visible in the thicker 
sherds. Paddling was by an incised paddle that left 
rectangular waffle impressions, or ribbons, on the 
external surface of the pots. The waffle net cells are 
small, measuring sixteen squares per square centi- 
meter. On some sherds, impressed sections alternate 
with smooth surfaces. 

The pots are round-based and have spherical 
or sub-conical bodies. The edges of the vessels are 
rounded or, less frequently, straight. Only in one 
case was a rim thickened by attaching an extra coil 
to the external side. One pot had a slightly convex 
neck. The thickness of the walls of different vessels 
varies considerably. Some sherds have a thickness of 
1 3 millimeters, whereas others are only 5 millimeters 
thick. The only decoration on the pots was a belt of 
pits situated near the rim edge. The upper part of 
a vessel with a convex neck was strengthened by a 
sinew net with large cells (Fig. 55:1). The distance 
between the net cords is 1 mm. Sherds of this ves- 
sel were found among pieces of slag. Fragments of 
a small, round-based bowl (Fig. 53:4) were found 
at the western edge of Hearth 2. Its diameter is 9.5 
centimeters, its height 5 centimeters, and wall thick- 
ness about 5 millimeters. No temper was observed 
in the earthenware paste; however, hair imprints are 
sometimes present on the exterior. 

The ceramics for daily use from the upper layer 
of Abylaakh I are fully in line with the ceramics of 
the Ymiyakhtakh culture, especially with those from 
sites of northern Yakutia. They differ from the ves- 
sels of Belkachi I in the absence of linear decorative 

Fragments of four crucibles for bronze casting 
were recovered at Abylaakh I (Figs. 56:1 -3; 58:1-3). 
Their form can be reconstructed from fragments that 
allowed one crucible to be restored. The crucibles 
were small and oval and have a spout for pouring. 
Sizes are very standard, measuring 4.5 centimeters 
across. The bottoms are severely burned; in one 
case it was possible to determine height— about 3 




54/ Ymiyakhtakh-type ceramics from Abylaakh I. 

3 cm 

1 I I I 

55/ Slag-coated ceramics from Abylaakh I. 

centimeters. The capacity of tlie crucible is approxi- 
mately 1 5 cubic centimeters. At the rear of the cru- 
cibles, their bottoms widened, forming a projection 
that allowed the crucible to be held to pour out the 
metal. The crucibles were made of clay that had no 
apparent admixture, which distinguished them from 
the ceramic ware for daily use. The edges of the 
crucibles had slag adhering and a copper inclusion 
was identified in one of the fragments. 

The projections on the Abylaakh crucibles (Fig. 
56:1 ) resemble handles found on the crucibles from 
the Stary Siktyakh site, situated on the Lower Lena 
within the Arctic Circle. At Stary Siktyakh, waffle 
ceramics and stone tools similar to those of the 
Ymiyakhtakh culture were recovered in association 
with fragments of crucibles (Okladnikov 1946:89, 
tables XIII, XII). A crucible with a different shape 
and size was found at an Ymiyakhtakh site near 
Pokrovskoe village (Okladnikov 1 950b:table XXXIX). 
A different type of crucible with handles and a later- 
ally positioned spout comes from the Kullaty site and 
from a site near the regional hospital of Yakutsk, 
where they were found in association with waffle 
ceramics and with ceramics dating to later time peri- 
ods (Okladnikov 1 950b: table XXXIX: 1 , fig. 23). On 
the whole, the Abylaakh crucibles have an appearance 
that distinguishes them from Yakutian forms. 

A mold for casting celts or axes was made of 
the same clay used for the crucibles. A fragment 
of a half-mold was found (Figs. 57:2, 58:4) with a 
rounded external surface; the matrix for the middle 
part of the axe was cut out on the inner surface. 
Judging from this fragment, the axe was hexahedral 
in cross-section, with flat surfaces and projecting 
longitudinal ridges. Such a form is typical for the 
celt/axes of the Seim-Turbino type (Bader 1 964:65; 
Tikhonov 1 960:37). In all probability the clay molds 
were used only once because the molds had to be 
broken to extract the cast. 

Numerous pieces of porous, burnt ceramic slag 
were found in Hearths 2 and 3 (Fig. 55:3-4). Some 
of these are probably vessel fragments that fell into 




the fire and melted. Remains of the original surface 
were preserved on three pieces that seem to be parts 
of a large vessel. Imprints of a net woven of sinew 
were observable on their surfaces; the diagonal cell 
impressions measure 1 .2 centimeters long. Similar 
ceramic slags have been found in a bronze-casting 

3 cm 
I I I I 

56/ Fragments of a crucible and small bowl from 
Abylaakh I. 

57/ Sandstone molds from Abylaakh I. 

area at the regional hospital site in Yakutsk, which 
Okladnikov interpreted as remnants of a coating 
for a melting pot (Okladnikov 1950b:101). Similar 
slags were found at Ust-Polovinka in a hearth where 
bronze was melted (Excavation Area 1 1, Hearth 2; 
see Chapter 4). At Abylaakh I and Ust-Polovinka, arti- 
facts were accompanied by a red loamy mass, which 
probably served as an external coating for crucibles, 
supporting Okladnikov's interpretation. 

Another indication of bronze casting is a small 
fragment of the hafting portion of a celt decorated 
with an ornamental belt consisting of two thin lines; 
the space between the lines is filled with an ornamen- 
tal pattern typical of celts of the Seim-Turbino type. 
However, on the celt from Abylaakh there are vertical 
triangles and vertical lines beneath the belt, which 
are absent on the celts of the Seim-Turbino type (Fig. 
58:6). Such lines are present on some celts from the 
Middle Urals which are ascribed to one of the West 
Siberian groups of celts dated to the beginning of 
the first millennium B.C. (Tikhonov 1 960:52-54). The 
Abylaakh celt is similar to the Baikal type (the Baikal 
type includes a celt in the Irkutsk Local Museum and 
one found on Lake Baikal near Goremyki village, and 
the celt that was transferred to the Archaeological 

58/ Materials associated with bronze casting at Ab- 
ylaakh I: crucible fragments (nos. 1-3): sandstone 
molds (4-5): bronze celt fragment (6): reconstruc- 
tion of the celt from Abylaakh I (7). 



Commission by "a man who has come from the 
Angara"). It was found on the shore of Lake Baikal 
near Listvennichnoe village. The characteristic feature 
of these celts is lateral projections. P.P. Khoroshikh 
dated these celts to the Karasuk Period (Khoroshikh 
1970). Taking into consideration the similarity of 
the Baikal celts to the Seim-Turbino type and the 
age of the Abylaakh finds, the celts must date to the 
thirteenth or twelfth century B.C. 

The Abylaakh celt was cast of tin-bronze. The 
spectraJ analysis carried out by D.V. Naumov in 
the Laboratory of Archaeological Technology of the 
Institute of Archaeology (Leningrad) has demon- 
strated that the alloy consisted of 92% copper and 
7% tin. In addition, there was trace evidence of lead, 
silver, nickel, and other elements. The same composi- 
tion was identified in the drops of metal found in the 
hearths at Abylaakh I. 

The sandstone mold (Figs. 57:1 ; 58:5) is a unique 
find. After refitting its fragments, it was determined 
to be a cast for an anthropomorphic figurine. This 
mold is made of a slab of fine-grained reddish sand- 
stone with an irregular oval shape and a truncated 
end. Its length is 7.5 centimeters; width 4 centime- 
ters; and thickness 1.3 centimeters. An anthropo- 
morphic form is cut out of the inside surface of the 
mold. The head and the body are represented by one 
line that starts at the wide butt of the slab. The body 
line bifurcates, forming feet planted apart at a sharp 
angle. The upper half of the body line is crossed at 
a right angle by the line forming the shoulders. The 
arm lines descend from the shoulder line. The length 
of the figure is 6.5 centimeters; width of shoulders 
is 2.4 centimeters; width of the groove representing 
the body is 4.5 to 5 millimeters; and the width of 
the other grooves is 3 millimeters. The depth of the 
grooves varies from 4 millimeters for the body to 2.5 
to 3 millimeters for the hands and legs. The grooves 
are trapezoidal in cross-section. The figurine lacks 
any indication of sex. 

Similar figurines and images depicted in different 
media are widely distributed in the art of Siberian 

peoples. Thus, human figures are pecked on the 
reddish sandstone cliffs of the Tepsey Mount in the 
South Siberian part of the Yenisey River valley. The 
same technique was used on the sandstone slabs 
that bordered the Tagar graves near Lake Shira 
(Rygdylon 1959:tables IV, VII). On limestone rocks 
near Kamenka village on the Lower Angara, similar 
images were covered with red ochre (Okladnikov 
1966b:102, table 174:1). 

Ethnographic examples of these figures are also 
known. Five figurines represented in the same pose 
as the Abylaakh "man" are depicted on a shaman's 
breastplate from Evenkia. The surface of the plate is 
covered with a yellowish-gray material and dark red 
paint and fringed with white deer hair. The central 
figurine has no head, and the other heads are rep- 
resented as circles (Ivanov 1 954:1 51-1 53, fig. 4b). 
Strikingly similar to the Abylaakh mold is a mold in 
the Yamal-Nenets Regional Museum in Salekhard (Fig. 
59). The figurine mold, made of wood, has the same 

59/ Wooden mold from Yamal-Nenets Regional 
Museum, Salekhard, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous 
Area, Russia. 



shape and pose and was cut in the same way. It was 
made of wood; there is another part of the mold in 
which only part of the cast is cut out. The height of 
the figurine is 14.5 centimeters. It has both hands 
and feet. Judging by the inscription on the mold, the 
piece was made either at the end of the nineteenth 
or at the beginning of the twentieth century and is 
Nenets (Ivanov 1969:fig. 82). 

These examples show that the age of the stylized 
anthropomorphic figurines, which lack any traits 
indicative of their antiquity, cannot easily be deter- 
mined. The only thing that is certain is when a form 
or image appeared first. The Abylaakh type seems to 
have appeared in the thirteenth century B.C. 

Some stone abrasives from the upper layer [at 
Abylaakh I] are related to the production of metal 
tools. A bar of slate found in Square 1 9 near Hearth 2 
bore traces of grinding resulting from the sharpening 
of metal tools (Fig. 60:4). A fragment of a similar abra- 
sive, somewhat smaller in size, was found north of 
Hearth 3. Other abrasives are made of coarse-grained 
sandstone. Several pieces of sandstone display flat 
ground surfaces. One large sandstone piece has 
special grooves for sharpening [narrower or pointed 
objects]. Another bar-like piece shows traces of bor- 
ing. There is also a small slate slab that has numer- 
ous deep grooves on both its surfaces and on one 
lateral side (Fig. 61 :8). This slab was probably used 
for sharpening needles. 

(I 3(-(tl 
1 I I I 

60/ Sandstone abraders from Abylaakh I. 


Included in the lithic assemblage is a trihedral 
arrowhead made of brown flinty slate (Fig. 62;17). 
This arrowhead represents superlative stone working 
evident in its symmetry and careful finishing work. 
Such arrowheads are typical of the Ymiyakhtakh 
culture. They are present in assemblages from 
Buolkalaakh, Uolba II, Tuoy-Khaya, Konzaboy, and 
other sites in Yakutia (Glushinskii and Khiobystin 
1966:fig. 3:3, 4; Okladnikov 1 946:table Xll:l, fig. 
3:2; Fedoseeva 1968:fig. 15:1; 1980:182, 183, fig. 
102:66-69). On the Chukotka Peninsula, they are 
represented in North Chukotka culture sites identified 
byDikov(Dikov 1977:table84, 1 979:1 35, fig. 51:18, 
1 9), and on Kamchatka they are known from the 
materials described by Dikov for the Ushki Neolithic 
culture (Dikov 1979:fig. 41 :10, 42:8). The trihedral 
shape of these arrowheads may be related to their 
possible origin in bone arrowheads and spearheads, 
which usually were trihedral because of the natural 
proportions of the preforms (Khiobystin 1 970:fig. 2; 
Okladnikov 1946:178, table XVII; 1950b:table 1). 

Fragmentary arrowheads were also found. There 
are five triangular arrowheads with straight or slightly 
concave bases (Fig. 62: 1 -4, 1 6). One arrowhead has 

61/ Lithic artifacts (nos. 1-7): slate slab with 
grooves (8); ring fragment (9); reconstruction of a 
ceramic vessel ( 1 0); and rim profiles (1 1-15) from 
Abylaakh I. 


3 cm 

62/ Retouched points from Abylaakh I. 

convex edges (Fig. 62:6). Two arrowheads are trian- 
gular with lateral notches, and one of these is remark- 
able for its sharply oblique base (Fig. 62;7, 8). One 
intact and one broken arrowhead can be described 
as leaf-shaped with rounded bases (Fig. 62:18, 19). 
Two fragments may be parts of leaf-shaped arrow- 
heads made from flakes of flinty slate with marginal 
retouch (Fig. 62:1 3, 20). The latter, as well as frag- 
ments of other similar arrowheads (Fig. 62:1 5, 1 6), 
could be connected with the Early Neolithic complex 
from the lower layer. The overwhelming majority of 
arrowheads are made of transparent chalcedony, and 
only a few tools are made of grayish-white jasper-like 
rock or of flinty slate. 

Seven knives were found in the upper layer. They 
were probably all shaped like a half-moon with a trun- 

cated base and were intended 
for insertion into handles. One 
groundstone knife was made 
of pinkish-gray flinty rock (Fig. 
63:1 4); another was made of 
beautiful flaked red jasper 
(Fig. 63:15). The remaining 
knives are of chalcedony (Fig. 
63:9, 1 3, 16-18). There are 
fragments of three chalced- 
ony artifacts reworked from 
broken knives or large insets 
(Fig. 63:3-5, 8). Insets for 
composite tools were made 
of chalcedony and flinty slate 
(Fig. 63:1, 2, 7, 10, 11). They 
were carefully retouched over 
their entire surfaces. There 
are also two end-insets (Fig. 
63:6, 12). 

Three chalcedony perfora- 
tors were found near Hearth 
1 (Fig. 61 :1 -3). Two of these 
were found at the edge of the 
hearth but show no signs of 
thermal damage. The third 
perforator was made of light-colored jasper. All these 
tools are thin, quadrangular in cross-section, and 
retouched over their entire surfaces. One perforator, 
made on a flint flake, was found in the eastern part 
of the excavation area. It is trihedral in cross-section 
and both sides were retouched (Fig. 61 :5). Its point 
was also retouched, and it shows clear evidence of 
polish from use-wear, indicating that the tool served 
some other function in addition to piercing. 

A large trihedral flake of light jasper was used as 
a reamer (Fig. 61 :7). Use-wear in the form of scars 
and polish are easily observed both on its point and 
on the adjacent sections of its lateral sides. Together 
with other tools we found three articles in the upper 
layer with working edges that had been sharpened 
by several burin blows. Two of these represent so- 



64/ Cores from Abylaakh I. 

called "core-drills." A tool made of a light jasper 
core served probably as a multifaceted burin (Fig. 
64:2). A chalcedony tool served as a borer. Its point 
and lateral sides bear use-wear. A chalcedony flake 
removed from a core was used as a multifaceted 
burin (Fig. 64:1 ). 

Endscrapers were the most numerous tools at the 
site, and the excavation area of 1 25 square meters 
yielded sixty endscrapers (Figs. 65-68), of diverse 
shapes. There are trapezoidal endscrapers, endscrap- 
ers on the ends of laminar flakes, pole-axe-like end- 
scrapers, sharp-backed, and oval-backed endscrap- 
ers. Usually they have convex working edges. Tools 
with straight working edges are unusual. A number 
of endscrapers have working edges beveled on the 
long axis. Often one of the working edge corners 
formed a projection. Endscrapers were made both of 
flakes and of blade flakes. Their butts were bifacially 



65/ Scrapers from Abylaakh I. 

66/ Scrapers from Abylaakh I. No. 14 is a sidescraper. 


67/ Scrapers from Abylaakh I. 

68/ Scrapers from Abylaakh I. 

worked to be inserted into a handle. Some tools were 
processed by retouch over their entire surfaces. 

These endscrapers are notable for their color 
and the texture of the raw material. The majority of 
endscrapers were made of transparent chalcedony, 
but some were made of smoky-colored, milky, and 
striped chalcedony. Jasperous and flinty slate rocks 
were also used. Especially notable is a massive end- 
scraper that is trihedral in cross-section (Fig. 66:1 3) 

and was made of dark amber-colored cornelian. 
Traces of pitch remain on some endscrapers near 
their butt ends. This substance was used to fasten 
the tools into handles. 

There is only one sidescraper in the assemblage 
(Fig. 66:14). It was made of a large flake of gray 
quartzite and its convex working edge has bifacial 
retouch and is heavily worn. Many retouched flakes, 
chips and blades, primarily of chalcedony, were 
found in the upper layer. The working edges of some 
were formed by steep retouch, and they served as 
sidescrapers and push-planes, as was the case of one 
blade that was used as a sidescraper. Some other 
retouched artifacts were used for cutting. There are 
also fragments of other tools, the edge of a possible 
spearhead among them. One piece of beige flinty 
slate retains a ground surface. 

Prismatic blades with parallel scars on the dorsal 
surface are few in number. Some of these pieces 
may belong to the Early Neolithic complex that lay in 
the lower part of the cultural deposits of the site. In 
total, 532 blades and 21 81 flakes were found in the 
two cultural layers, indicating that blades were very 
significant in the stone inventory of the Ymiyakhtakh 
inhabitants of the Abylaakh site. Many fragments of 
blades bear use-wear that suggests that they were 
utilized as insets in composite tools without addi- 
tional working. Besides the "core-drills," five other 
cores were found in the upper layer (Fig. 64:4-8). 
They all are chalcedony and belong to a prismatic 
core type. 

Flinty rocks were reduced in two areas in the 
upper layer: near Hearth 4, where almost a sixth of 
all flakes were found, and near Hearth 3, where 306 
flakes (a seventh of all flaked pieces) were collected 
in an area measuring 6 square meters. Many flakes 
were found in the lens of Hearth 3. A hammerstone 
made from a quartzite cobble was found near this 

Noteworthy is the absence of groundstone tools 
for wood processing on the site. Bronze tools may 
have been used instead. 



The only ornament found on the site is a fragment 
of a ring made of soft stone resembling slate (Fig. 
61:9). Its external diameter was 3.5 centimeters; 
inner diameter was 2.1 centimeters; and thickness 
was 3 milimters. It was made by cutting on both sides. 
One surface, probably the external one, is ground 
and the other shows deep furrows of preliminary 
processing. The ring was broken in ancient times, 
and there is evidence of two bored holes. These 
holes are far apart at a distance equal to one-fourth 
of the ring; there may have been four symmetrically 
placed holes on the ring. The fragment was utilized 
as indicated by the sharpening of one of its ends; 
another end, where the break goes through a hole, 
has a smoothed edge that could have resulted from 
wear on a finger. 

Finally, there was an article of reindeer antler that 
was recovered in Square 34. It was made from the 
first tine on the lower part of an antler. The antler 
was cut off at both ends and has the shape of a mal- 
let or drumstick. Similar articles were found in the 
Mesolithic layers of Ust-Belaya on the Angara River 
but were made of red deer antlers (Medvedev et al. 
1971:56, 73, tables 12:3, 32:2), whereas similar 
pieces made of reindeer antler were found in one 
of the dwellings of the Mezin Palaeolithic site. [Such 
artifacts have also been found at the Mesolithic site of 
Zhokhov and at some Yakutian Neolithic sites. —Ed.]. 
According to G. F. Korobkova, who has examined the 
use-wear on this piece, it was used as a drumstick 
to beat mammoth shoulder blades and other bones 
and was thus part of a set of percussion instruments. 
The poor preservation of the drumstick found at 
Abylaakh makes it difficult to determine its function 
through use-wear analysis. It may have been used 
as the find from Mezin— as a drumstick for playing 
a drum or tambourine. The presence of the mold for 
an anthropomorphic figurine (Fig. 57:1), which was 
probably used for ritual purposes, suggests that the 
drumstick may have been used by a shaman. 

The ceramic and lithic assemblages of the upper 
layer of Abylaakh I indicate that this complex corre- 

sponds to the Ymiyakhtakh culture in terms of both 
type and age. At the Lena sites, the association of 
bronze casting with artifacts of the Ymiyakhtakh cul- 
ture could give rise to doubt because of the presence 
of ceramics from a later time period. Thus, the dis- 
covery of a bronze-casting workshop at Abylaakh 
indicates that Ymiyakhtakh sites, dated to the end 
of the second millennium B.C., should be dated to 
the Early Bronze Age. 

Abylaakh I is an outstanding Bronze Age site 
from the polar zone of East Siberia. The fortunate 
combination of the radiocarbon date with artifacts 
from the northernmost bronze-casting workshop in 
the world indicates that the site has great significance 
not only for the interpretation of this complex, but 
for Siberian archaeology in general. 

First of all, the discovery on Taymyr of a bronze- 
casting workshop dating to the thirteenth century 
B.C., as well as the discovery of traces of bronze 
casting at the Stary Siktyakh site, situated beyond 
the Arctic Circle on the Lower Lena, demonstrate that 
the inhabitants of the polar region had technology 
comparable to that of populations from southern 
East Siberia. Their hunting economy, well adapted to 
local environmental conditions, certainly cannot be 
regarded as a sign of backwardness. Moreover, the 
domestication of reindeer may have been beginning 
at this time. 

Second, the time period when celts similar to the 
Seim-Turbino type existed in eastern Siberia can be 
determined. Third, the discovery of a unique mold 
for casting an anthropomorphic figurine establishes 
a date for this type of image, which is often seen in 
Siberian rock art. Finally, the discovery of a bronze- 
casting workshop at such a high latitude sheds light 
on the question of how bronze metallurgy spread 
among the hunting groups that populated the taiga 
zone of Siberia. 

Returning to the Ymiyakhtakh sites of Taymyr, 
we must consider material from sites such as 
Kholodnaya II and III. These sites were discovered on 
the right bank of the Dudypta River, 2.5 kilometers 



upstream from the Kistyktakh River mouth. (The 
Kistyktakh is a left tributary of the Dudypta.) Here 
the 6 to 8-meter-high terrace is cut by ravines and 
divided into several promontories. Cultural remains 
were found on five of these points near the riverside 
edge of the terrace and were absent on its inner part. 
All finds were collected from blowouts. The points 
where these materials were found have been num- 
bered in accordance with their order downstream, 
from Kholodnaya I to Kholodnaya V. 

The Kholodnaya III site situated on the middle 
promontory yielded the greatest number of artifacts. 
Fragments of a small pot with a rim diameter of 1 5 
centimeters stand out among them. The pot has a 
broad sub-conical body with a constricted rim 1 5 
centimeters wide (Fig. 69) and a bulging body. The 
edge of the rim is straight. The external surface is 
covered with rectangular small-mesh waffle impres- 

3 cm 
I 1 I I 

69/ Ceramics from Kholodnaya III. 

sions. The thickness of the sherds is 5 millimeters. 
They are friable and retain impressions of hair, which 
served as a tempering agent. There is a small hole at 
the edge of the rim on one of the sherds. The hole 
had been pierced before the vessel was fired and, 
together with other such holes, was probably a form 
of decoration. A fragment of a crucible was found 
with a sherd of this pot. 

The majority of tools from the site belong to 
types characteristic of the Ymiyakhtakh culture. 
Two arrowheads have triangular shapes and slightly 
concave, nearly straight bases (Fig. 70:1 1 , 1 3). They 
were made of greenish flinty-slate rock. The third 
arrowhead, made of chalcedony, belongs to the 
same type but differs in its small size (Fig. 70:12). 
There is a chalcedony core that someone tried to 
turn into a multifaceted burin or borer. However, 
since the blank broke, the tool remained unfinished 

70/ Lithic artifacts from Kholodnaya II (nos. 1 , 3-7); 
lithic (2) and bronze (8) artifacts from Kholodnaya 
IV; lithic artifacts from Kholodnaya III (9-21 ). 



(Fig. 70:9). There are two chalcedony endscrapers 
(Fig. 70: 1 5, 18) and another endscraper of the pole- 
axe type with a quartzite-like cortex of jasper (Fig. 
70:19). The same rock was used for a knife blank 
(Fig. 70:1 7). With the exception of a large bifacially 
worked inset of flinty slate (Fig. 70:1 0) and the point 
of a laminar flake of jasper, which was evidently used 
as a reamer, all other artifacts are blanks for either 
large endscrapers or adzes or axes. They were made 
of flint and flinty slate. 

A fragment of a mold was also found at Kholodnaya 
II. The fragments of ceramics collected here were so 
damaged that it was impossible to determine their 
types. However, tools from this site can be attributed 
to the Ymiyakhtakh culture (Fig. 70:1 , 3-6). 

On the Zayachya site, situated on the Dudypta 
River, a burnt trihedral arrowhead was found in a 
hearth (Fig. 71:4). As long as such arrowheads are 
found only on Ymiyakhtakh sites, the Zayachya site 
should be attributed to this culture, too. A trihedral 
arrowhead blank, used for detaching blades, has 
been found at Dudypta VI (Fig. 71:5). The ceramic 
sherds with small-mesh rectangular waffle impres- 
sions, found on sites such as Pyasina V on the 
Pyasina River, Ivanovskaya, Kylkai, and Dudypta XI 
on the Dudypta River, indicate that all of these sites 
should be attributed to the Ymiyakhtakh culture. 
The lithic assemblage of Ivanovskaia (Fig. 72), where 
chalcedony artifacts predominate, is similar to that 
of Abylaakh I. 

Sherds with ribbed impressions were found at 
Pyasina V along with waffle ceramics (Fig. 73). These 
finds were accompanied by fragments of elongated 
triangular arrowheads with straight bases. There 
were also fragments of leaf-shaped arrowheads, 
one of which had a concave base (Fig. 74:8). A blank 
for a leaf-shaped spearhead (Fig. 74:1) and a piece 
that may have been a fragment of a large tanged 
arrowhead or a perforator blank (Fig. 74:2) were 
also recovered, as well as fragments of inset knives; 
an article with a very complex bifurcate shape (Fig. 
74:12); flakes and prismatic blades. All of these 


artifacts were made of flint and flinty slate, and only 
one blade was made of chalcedony. A pendant was 
made of a thin slab of fine-grained sandstone. Only a 
fragment of its upper part with a bored hole for lash- 
ing has been preserved (Fig. 74:3). Traces of copper 
oxide are present on a burned bone disc. 

The Pyasina V lithics differ from those of the 
Ymiyakhtakh culture in their poor execution, which 
is characteristic of Early Iron Age lithics. This site 
probably dates to a period when the Ymiyakhtakh 
culture was ceasing its independent existence in 
western Taymyr. A bifurcate tool (Fig. 75:7), similar 
to that found at Pyasina V (Fig. 74:12), was found 
among the tools from Ivanovskaia. Based on this arti- 
fact, the site should be dated to the Bronze Age (Fig. 
75:7-1 0, 13-15, 19). Sites such as Avgustovskaya I 
on the Dudypta River, and Istok Glubokiy on Lake 
Glubokoye, where thin-walled ceramics with ribbed 
impressions and hair inclusions were found, should 
also be attributed to the late Ymiyakhtakh, or to sites 
associated with this culture. 

On the Paiturma IV site, at the upper reaches of 
the Dudypta, sherds of a vessel with characteristics 
typical of the Ymiyakhtakh culture were found: 
closed form, a belt of holes beneath the rim, hair 
inclusions, and rhombic-lattice impressions from 
a pottery paddle. This surface appearance is char- 
acteristic of vessels dating to the Late Bronze and 
Early Iron Age. The ceramics from Paiturma IV, as well 
as the ribbed ceramics have to be dated to the Late 
Ymiyakhtakh Period approximately the beginning 
of the first millennium B.C. 

In the eastern part of Taymyr there are a number 
of sites where endscrapers, arrowheads, and core-like 
burin-drills similar to Ymiyakhtakh lithics were found. 
The absence of ceramics at these sites precludes 
definitive conclusions about their cultural affiliation. 
Most tools at these sites were made of chalcedony. 

The Khargy III site, which was mentioned in 
Chapter 2 in connection with the labret find, is one 
such site. It is situated on the northwestern shore of 
Khargy Lake. In the course of a surface collection, the 


71/ Lithic artifacts from Kylkai (nos. 1 -2); Dudypta 
VIII (3): Zayachya (4); Dudypta VI (5). 

following tools were found at the site: a blank for a 
flint spearhead, or of a spear-like knife; a blade with 
ventral retouch; a secondary burin spall (Fig. 19:11), 
flakes and blades of chalcedony and jasper; and a 
chalcedony multifaceted burin of the "core-drill" type 
(Fig. 1 9:1 5). The "core-drill" burin allows us to date 
Khargy III to the Early Bronze Age, because such 
artifacts have not been found on Taymyr among 
Neolithic materials. This assemblage also yielded a 
small, white, marble-like stone artifact shaped like 
a fish vertebra (Fig. 38: 1 0). This piece measures 1 
millimeters by 5 millimeters. One disc of the artifact is 
larger than the other; the edges of the disc are dam- 
aged. There is a round pit in the center, from which 
four dotted lines diverge in a cross pattern. Each line 
consists of four dots. In general the ornament has an 
appearance of a swastika-like rosette. It is probably a 
labret meant to be inserted through the lips or cheek 
with the ornamented side showing. 

In form, the labret from Khargy III resembles 
ancient Eskimo specimens that have been identified 
by scholars as nozzles for floats— the latter are found 



■ fl ..IS. 


73/ Ceramics from Pyasina V. 

on skin bags that, when filled with air and tied to a 
harpoon, keep the captured sea mammal afloat. Such 
an interpretation was offered by S. I. Rudenko for an 
object similar to the Khargy labret that was found at 
Uelen (Rudenko 1947:79, table 1:18). Similar labret 
forms are known from America, the Kurile Islands, 
and northern Hokkaido. 

The Khargy III labret demonstrates that the 
tradition of wearing lip adornments persisted into 
the Early Bronze Age. This find indicates that the 
descendants of Maimeche people existed in eastern 
Taymyr at the end of the second millennium B.C., 
when they intermarried with newcomers. Another 
supposition is that labrets were used by Ymiyakhtakh 
newcomers, in which case the Khargy labret must 
be associated with Ymiyakhtakh culture. However, 
labrets were not used by the Yukagir, Chukchi, and 
Koryak who are probably partially descended from 
Ymiyakhtakh peoples. 

Among the finds that could be coeval with the 
Ymiyakhtakh culture or date from a later time period 
are a lanceolate arrowhead (Fig. 76:3) from Tagenar 

74/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina V. 



75/ Lithic artifacts (nos. 1 , 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 16-1 8), a piece of bitumen (2), and a piece of clay (5) from Pya- 
sina til. Lithic artifacts from Ivanovskaia (7-10, 13-15, 19). 

76/ Lithic artifacts from the Volochanka River val- 
ley: Tagenar II (nos. 1 , 2); Tagenar Lake I (3, 14, 
16): Tagenar V (4, 6-8, 10-12, 15); Volochanka II 
(5); Volochanka I (9): Tagenar II, Location 4 (13). 

Lake I made of dark brown jasper with careful bifacial 

An interesting artifact has an outline resembling 
a fish, with a proximal end wider than the distal 
end. The body of the tool is constricted a little, 
and the base is concave with bifurcate corners. A 
multi-spurred arrowhead of yellowish-white jasper 
(Fig. 18:3) was recovered from Labaz III, as well as 
a multifaceted chalcedony burin-drill (Fig. 20:4); a 
triangular, elongated chalcedony arrowhead with a 
straight base that was turned into a dihedral burin 
by two burin blows (Fig. 20:3); an inset blade trans- 
formed into a burin on a break; a blade with lateral 
notches; a fragment of a prismatic core; and prismatic 
blades and flakes of pink and white jasper. The 
above-mentioned large multi-spurred arrowhead (Fig. 
1 8:3) is trihedral in cross-section, resembling in this 
respect the Ymiyakhtakh tools. There are projecting 
spurs on the ridges in the middle part of the artifact. 
Unfortunately, its point, base and one of the spurs are 



damaged. There are no lithic specimens comparable 
to this arrowhead; it resembles the so-called "multi- 
spurred arrowheads" of antler found in Ust-Polui on 
the Lower Ob (Moshinskaia 1 953:76, table l;2 1 -28; 
1 965:table 1:4-6,1 1,15). These arrowheads are simi- 
lar to the "clawed arrowheads" that were probably 
used for hunting waterfowl (Moshinskaia 1953:76). 
This use appears unlikely for the massive arrow- 
head from Labaz III. When this artifact was shown 
to Nganasan people, they suggested it could have 
been used as the head of a khorei~a reindeer prod. 
However, this idea could be true only if the reindeer 
decoy hunting method had appeared as early as the 
Bronze Age. Most probably, this arrowhead was used 
to hunt geese on shore. 

Among the aceramic Pyasina sites dated to the 
Early Bronze Period is a site at the Talovaya River 
mouth. Here, in a small blowout, five chalcedony 
artifacts were collected: a fragment of an elongated 
triangular arrowhead with a slightly concave base (Fig. 
77:5); a perforator made on a prismatic blade with 
its point formed by fine, oblique retouch (Fig. 77:9); 
a fragment of a tool used as a scraper; and a flaked 
chalcedony slab. Keeping in mind the small area 
where the materials were collected, this assemblage 
resembles the inventory from a burial place. 

77/ Lithic artifacts from Malaya Korennaya I (nos. 
i'A, 6, 7) and Ust-Talovaya (5, 8, 9). 

Distribution and Development of 
Check-Stamped Pottery 

The discovery of check-stamped, or waffle, pottery 
in the eastern and western parts of the Taymyr 
Peninsula and Ymiyakhtakh tools indicates that 
Taymyr was part of the Ymiyakhtakh culture area. At 
the end of the second millennium B.C., Ymiyakhtakh 
peoples from the Lena River basin south of the Arctic 
Circle began the successful colonization of polar 
regions. East of the Taymyr Peninsula, in addition 
to the Anabar-Olenek interfluvial and the Lower 
Lena areas, Ymiyakhtakh sites such as Ularovskaia 
Protoka (Okladnikov and Gurvich 1 957) and Burulgino 
were found on the Indigirka River (Fedoseeva 1 972), 
and the sites of Labuya, Nizhne-Kolymskaia, and 
Konzaboy were found on the Kolyma. Ymiyakhtakh- 
style waffle pottery is characteristic of North 
Chukotka culture (Dikov 1 979:fig. 50). Ribbed pottery 
characteristic of the Ust-Belaya tradition of Chukotka 
is dated by Dikov to the period between the end of 
the second and the first half of the first millennium 
B.C. (Dikov 1979:147, 148), which corresponds to 
the dating of Taymyr ribbed pottery to the late and 
post-Ymiyakhtakh periods. 

The first to call attention to the appearance 
of waffle pottery from Siberia in the West Eurasia 
polar region was Okladnikov, who noted similari- 
ties between pottery fragments found in Burial X of 
the Oleny Ostrov cemetery on the northern Kola 
Peninsula and the check-stamped pottery of Yakutia 
(Gurina 1953:376; Okladnikov 1953:1 56; Schmidt 
1930:table Vl:4). The fragments had sub-rhombic 
impressions made with a paddle. This was not the 
only example of such pottery in northern Europe. 
Fragments of vessels decorated with a rhombic 
waffle pattern have been found in northern Norway. 
Sites with waffle pottery nearest Oleny Ostrov are 
known from Varanger on Kelmo Island and near 
Vard0 (Gjessing 1935:25-38; 1942:275-278, fig. 
111:3; Solberg 1909:71, 72). There are reports of 
finds near Nordkapp [North Cape, Norway] and in 



Storbukt. The southwesternmost point of its distri- 
bution is Kirkhellaren on Sanda Island in the Trena 
Archipelago just south of the Arctic Circle (Gjessing 
1943:129-131, table XXXVII). 

The pottery discovered in northern Norway has 
asbestos temper, a feature typical of the cultures of 
the Scandinavian North, the Kola Peninsula, and polar 
regions of Finland and Karelia during the Bronze and 
Early Iron Ages. The Saami, the indigenous inhabit- 
ants of those regions, also used asbestos temper in 
making ceramic vessels. However, investigations at 
Anttila II, in northern Finland on the Kemijoki River 
just south of the Arctic Circle, yielded specimens of 
rhombic waffle ware with both asbestos and hair 
temper (Carpelan 1970:34). 

Dates for the appearance of waffle pottery in 
northern Europe have been refined by radiocarbon 
dating (Gurina 1 953:53) of the lining of Burial 4 at 
the Oleny Ostrov cemetery, 3000 ± 50 (LE 800). 
According to Gurina's observations, the cemetery 
cannot be divided into chronologically different com- 
plexes. Hence, the Burial 4 date can be applied to the 
cemetery as a whole and extended to Burial X, which 
contained waffle pottery. Thus, the waffle pottery of 
the Kola Peninsula and Finland is contemporaneous 
with Ymiyakhtakh pottery. 

When Gurina and Okladnikov noted the similar- 
ity between the pottery from Oleny Ostrov and that 
of Yakutia, there was no evidence of assemblages 
containing the same kind of pottery from the vast 
expanses extending from the Lower Lena to the White 
Sea. Gjessing did not know of the finds in Yakutia 
and, in defining waffle pottery as one of the distinc- 
tive features of circumpolar culture, he had to refer 
to similar specimens from distant regions— North 
America and the Kamchatka Peninsula (Gjessing 

As a result of the discoveries in the Anabar-Olenek 
interfluvial and the work of the Polar Expedition on 
the Taymyr Peninsula, the distribution of waffle pot- 
tery as far as the Pyasina River in the western part of 
the peninsula was established. 

In 1966, when a Polar team was surveying the 
lower reaches of the Malaya Khadyta River on the 
southern Yamal Peninsula, a fragment of a pot with 
small-mesh waffle was found in the collection from 
Khadyta-yakha I. Another specimen found farther 
west was a fragment with rectangular cells from the 
Moi-Yarei site in the Bolshezemelskaya tundra, dis- 
covered in 1 907 by A. V. Zhuravskii during a survey of 
the Kolva riverbanks (Zhuravskii 1 909:298). The lith- 
ics and pottery from the site were sent to the Museum 
of Anthropology and Ethnography in St. Petersburg 
where examination of Collections #1 1 84 and 1457 
revealed waffle pottery with hair temper. Waffle ware 
was also found in the Kolva River basin in 1947 by 
G.A. Chernov, who was collecting finds at Point 2 
at the Sandibey VI site. Waffle pottery was not the 
principal type of pottery at any of these sites; other 
contemporaneous wares of local cultures dominated. 
At Khadyta-yakha I, for example, Yarsale-type ware 
dated to the end of the second and beginning of the 
first millennium B.C. was recovered along with waffle 
pottery. Drops of copper and fragments of crucibles 
were also found here and were shaped somewhat 
like the crucibles from Abyiaakh I. 

At the Sandibey V site discovered by Chernov, in 
addition to sherds from the Early Metal Epoch, there 
were fragments with wavy impressions made using 
a rolling stamp. Similar ornamentation was noted at 
sites east of the Middle Urals where it was dated to 
the end of the second millennium B.C., at the earli- 
est. Similar pottery found on sites in the subarctic 
reaches of the Pechora River was given the name 
"Korshak" ware by V.I. Kanivets who dated it to the 
mid-second millennium B.C. (Kanivets 1974:22-25, 
124-126). Since Kanivets' dating was based on the 
Suzgun and Yolovo cultures of the Andronovo type, 
which dated to the last quarter of the second mil- 
lennium B.C. (Kosarev 1974:117), the roll-stamped 
Korshak pottery cannot be dated prior to the close 
of the second millennium B.C. 

With finds dating from the second through first 
millennium B.C. and evidence that the populations 



of Eastern Europe and West Siberia were culturally 
related to the inhabitants of the adjoining taiga 
zones, the appearance in those regions of waffle 
pottery can be explained only by the penetration of a 
cultural tradition from the east, from the general area 
of the Taymyr Peninsula. The route by which waffle 
pottery extended into the west lay across the tundra 
and forest-tundra zones beyond the Arctic Circle. 
Indeed, this process was promoted by the expansion 
of those zones as a result of climatic deterioration 
in the second half of the second millennium B.C. as 
well as by the reduction in marshland. 

How were the skills for manufacturing ceramics 
with a spatula-mallet that left waffle impressions 
spreading? Was this process associated with the 
westward movement of an ethnic group or were the 
cultural skills alone proliferating? Or was the appear- 
ance of waffle pottery a convergent phenomenon? 
The latter assumption is at odds with the dating of 
the waffle pottery found in the Eurasian Arctic. The 
available radiocarbon dates are closely spaced: 2950 
± 50 B.P. for Burulgino on the Indigirka River; 3 1 00 ± 
60 B.P. for Abylaakh I on the Taymyr Peninsula; and 
3000 ± 50 B.P. for the Oleny Ostrov cemetery on the 
Kola Peninsula. These dates are inconsistent with the 
idea of convergence where emphasis is placed on a 
causative rather than temporal relationship. Since 
the convergence theory is not adequately developed, 
the above argument is merely a tentative proposal. 
Nevertheless, why would different ethnic groups with 
dissimilar pottery-making traditions simultaneously 
develop a new technology that did not stem from 
the demands of cultural evolution and that died out 
without further development? From the standpoint 
of convergence advocates, this phenomenon defies 
explanation. Even less explicable from this stand- 
point is the spread of hair temper in combination 
with the paddle production technique. 

A more plausible explanation is that the pottery 
represented a "fashion trend." But why was the trend 
confined only to the waffle patterns and why did 
neighboring cultures fail to adopt other peculiarities 

of pottery production and ornamentation? Finally, 
why did the proliferation process develop over certain 
natural zones and bypass the forest region inhabited 
by ethnic groups related by origin or culture to the 
population of the polar region? In this respect the 
Anttila 11 site is an exception. 

The most tenable view sees the migration of the 
ethnic group representing that cultural tradition 
behind the spread of this pottery type. Moving along 
the tundra and forest-tundra corridor, between the 
coast of the Arctic Ocean and the boundless tracts 
of taiga, bypassing the principal territory where 
the Finno-Ugric-Samoyedic community was devel- 
oping, that ethnic group was coming into contact 
with different aboriginal ethnic groups, leaving 
traces in the form of waffle pottery fragments and 
gradually intermarrying with the local population. 
Noteworthy in this respect are the traits shared by 
the inhabitants of the Pechora and West Siberian 
polar regions and the ethnic groups of extreme 
Northeast Asia (Lashuk 1958:33-36; Prokofiev 
1939:21, 22; 1940:73). 

The phenomenon of common cultural character- 
istics peculiar to the ethnic groups of the North is 
the result of a number of circumstances, primarily 
ecological factors and the diffusion of cultural devel- 
opments. However, some of those characteristics- 
lexical cognates in particular— are presumably due 
to contributions to various cultures made by ethnic 
groups associated with the Ymiyakhtakh tradition 
that were widely distributed in the polar region at 
the turn of the second millennium B.C. 

C. Carpelan, the investigator of Anttila II, noting 
the presence of "imitated textile" ware in East Siberia 
and North America, indicated at the same time that 
the origin of the ware in northern Fennoscandia had 
not been fully explained (Carpelan 1974:27). After 
familiarizing himself with the publications of the 
Polar Expedition, he argued that the appearance of 
waffle pottery in Fennoscandia was the result of its 
introduction by migrants from Taymyr (Carpelan 



The first local residents to be encountered by the 
migrating groups of the Ymiyakhtakh people on their 
way west were descendants of the Baikit culture living 
on the FVasina River. Contact between the two groups 
resulted in the appearance of pottery reminiscent of 
Pyasina IV-A. Pyasina IV-A was discovered in 1971 on 
the right bank of the FVasina River, downstream from 
the mouth of the Malaya Korennaya River and sixty- 
nine kilometers from the source of the Pyasina. Here a 
ten-meter-high terrace is cut by a large stream valley; 
the right bank of the stream and the near side of the 
terrace form a prominent ledge rising to the top of 
Terrace II. On a small platform at the base of the ris- 
ing slope, an ash lens was located beneath a 1 cen- 
timeter-thick humus layer. Near the ash in a blowout 
near the excavation, the following were recovered: 
a tiny borer, a chalcedony knife, blades, and flakes 
found in association with a fragment of thick-walled 
pottery, and a small crucible. The crucible (Fig. 79), 
oval in plan with the spout at the narrow end and 
a slightly rounded bottom, is very small in size: 6 
centimeters in length, 4.7 centimeters at its widest, 
and 1 .9 centimeters tall. Its capacity does not exceed 
12 cubic centimeters. The crucible, assigned to the 
"Pyasina" type, differs in shape from those used at 
Abylaakh I and is of a type widely distributed among 
the Pyasina River sites. 

The pottery fragment recovered (Fig. 78: 1 ) is from 
a round-bottomed vessel of sub-conical shape; the 
rim diameter, measuring about 25 to 26 centimeters, 
was smaller than that of the middle part of the pot. 
It was approximately 20 centimeters in height, and 
the walls were about one centimeter thick. The paste 
contains coarse gritty earth as a temper. Inside the 
pot, evidence of smoothing was visible. The upper 
half of the vessel is covered with decoration. The 
surface of the rim and the outer edge are marked 
by slightly inclined pricks made with a sharp stick. 
Under the rim, groove-like lines girdling the pot 
were made with a rocker-stamp with small conical 
pits 4 millimeters in diameter stretching along the 
uppermost and under the lowest lines. Descending 

78/ Ceramics from Pyasina IV-A. 

79/ Crucible from Pyasina IV-A. 

from every other pit of the lowest line are slanted 
lines that intersect at an angle of 55 to 56 degrees 
to form triangular streamers. 

If only the upper part of the design is examined, 
an apparent relationship to the Neolithic Baikit 



decorative style becomes evident, especially to a 
Baikit pottery fragment from Ust-Polovinka. However, 
the entire lower part of the FVasina IV-A pot is covered 
with "waffle" impressions typical of Ymiyakhtakh pot- 
tery. The impressions are randomly scattered, and 
the paddling was done on wet clay, spattering the 
edges of the quadrangular cells. The paddle pattern 
was formed by narrow (3.5 mm) cuts spaced 4 mil- 
limeters apart and intersecting at right angles. Thus, 
the pot combines features of two pottery-making 
traditions: the Baikit and the Ymiyakhtakh and is 
thus of a hybrid type. 

The appearance of such hybrid ware reflects 
the fusion of two cultural traditions and, most 
likely, assimilative connections between Pyasina 
peoples, descendants of the Baikit cultural group and 
Ymiyakhtakh migrants from the east. Such pottery 
must be later than the Ymiyakhtakh culture. Since 
there were settlements on the Pyasina with pottery 
of a different type dated to the sixth century B.C., 
Pyasina IV-A should be dated to the early first mil- 
lennium B.C. The rim of another, smaller pot found 
near the ash lens should also be mentioned. This 
fragment was decorated with pricked horizontal lines 
made with dentate rocker-stamping. Hereafter, the 
term "early Pyasina ware" will be used to refer to the 
potter/ found at Pyasina IV-A. 

Due to its extensive distribution, the Ymiyakhtakh 
culture exerted considerable influence on many 
of the inhabitants of East Siberia who adopted its 
waffle pottery. Waffle-impressed vessels persisted 
in Taymyr through the second half of the first mil- 
lennium B.C. Such vessels were produced at the 
same time and subsequently in other regions of 
East Siberia and the Far East while, in Yakutia, the 
original territory of the Ymiyakhtakh peoples, other 
cultures were developing. It would be erroneous, 
therefore, to assign every site with waffle ceramics 
to the Ymiyakhtakh culture. Even while Ymiyakhtakh 
was in existence, waffle pottery could have been 
used by ethnic groups of other cultural traditions, 
for example, the asbestos-ware culture of northern 

Scandinavia. The waffle pottery sherds from sites 
in the Baikal and Trans-Baikal regions— Chenche 
Duskachan, Fofanovo, Posolskoye, Ulan-Khada, 
Peschanaya Bay, and the Baikalsky settlement— may 
be similarly interpreted. Waffle impressions have also 
been observed on pots belonging to the Glazkovo 
tradition, although most of these impressions were 
applied in a different manner. An interesting com- 
parison can be made between Ymiyakhtakh pottery 
and the ware found by M.G. Levin's expedition at the 
Dushkachan settlement (curated at the Institute of 
Anthropology, Moscow State University, Collection 
8540). This ware is decorated with a rhomboid-lattice 
pattern, closely spaced rows of comb impressions, 
and vertical pricks made with a stick. As with the 
Ymiyakhtakh specimens, the paste contains hair. 
Mochanov and Fedoseeva assigned the site on Lake 
Tatyanino in the Kolyma arm of the Indigirka delta 
to the Ymiyakhtakh culture (Fedoseeva 1980:149; 
Mochanov 1969:190, 191; Okladnikov and Gurvich 
1957). Fragments of two vessels with a rhomboid- 
waffle pattern were recovered at the site. A small, 
globe-shaped vessel was decorated with five thin 
parallel ridges applied near the rim. The pot surface 
appears burnished. The presence of a temper in the 
paste could not be determined. The appearance of 
such ridges is associated in Yakutia with the Ust-Mil 
culture and dates from the beginning of the tenth 
century to the mid-first millennium B.C. (Fedoseeva 
1970a, 1974). 

Thin, appliqued ridges and large rhomboid-waffle 
impressions are characteristic of the Iron Age pottery 
of Taymyr, which enabled the Lake Tat'yanino site to 
be dated to the second half of the first millennium 
B.C. (Khiobystin 1 975:1 05). The Lake Tat'yanino site 
should not be attributed to the Ymiyakhtakh culture, 
nor should pottery from Ularovskaia Protoka on 
the Indigirka (Okladnikov and Gurvich 1 957) or the 
Kurung I and Bolshaya Kyuske sites on the Olekma 
River (Zykov 1978). Pottery from these sites appar- 
ently developed under the influence of the Ust-Mil tra- 
dition; it differs markedly from Ymiyakhtakh ware. 



Pottery with waffle impressions on the surface 
has been found at a number of settlements on the 
Magadan coast of the Okhotsk Sea. R.S. Vasil'evskii 
assigned the materials from Atargan, Nargabyen, 
Three Brothers Cape, Kip-Kich and Varganchick to 
the ancient Koryak culture (Vasil'evskii 1971). In 
describing the impressions on the sherd surfaces, 
Vasil'evskii uses the term "pseudo-textile" without 
making a distinction between typical waffle and 
textile imprints. 

Many other sites in the region, such as Bogurchan, 
Zav'yalov Island Dwelling I, Alevin Cape, Orochan, 
Sivuch, Astronomicheskaia Bay, Srednyaya Bay, 
Nantandza, Itkilan Bay, Tavatum, Nayakhan, Kulka, 
and Kavran— which Vasil'evskii considers to be 
associated with the use of "pseudo-textile" stamps, 
actually contain vessels produced using a paddle 
to create waffle impressions. Vasil'evskii notes that 
"pseudo-textile" pottery is thin-walled relative to other 
ceramics found at some of the above-mentioned 
sites; its waffle imprints are 4 to 5 millimeters, less 
frequently 3 or 8 millimeters in thickness, whereas 
the smooth-walled wares are, as a rule, over 1 
centimeter, and occasionally as much as 2 to 2.7 
centimeters thick. According to VasU'evskii, round- 
bottomed vessels with the outer surface completely 
covered with "pseudo-textile imprints" predominate 
over other types of ceramics at ancient Koryak sites. 
The rims of such vessels are slightly everted; the 
relatively thin walls measure 4 to 6 millimeters thick; 
maximum diameter of the vessels is 1 8 to 24 centi- 
meters; height is 20 to 25 centimeters. Vasil'evskii 
dates the "pseudo-textile" vessels to between the 
sixth and thirteenth centuries A.D., noting their devel- 
opment from sharp-bottomed to round-bottomed, 
egg-shaped, and globular pots occasionally deco- 
rated with applied ridges with transverse incisions 
(Vasil'evskii 1971:132-1 35). 

Waffle pottery from the ancient Koryak culture 
owes its origin to intra-continental influences, 
most likely to the Ymiyakhtakh culture of Yakutia. 
Ymiyakhtakh culture sites were discovered by the 

Lena Region Expedition on the Kolyma River and 
the Kukhtuy River near the Okhotsk Sea coast. 
Descendants of the Ymiyakhtakh culture apparently 
formed part of the ancient Koryak community. 

Of interest here are the burials excavated by A. V. 
Beliaeva and G.A. Pytlyakov at Astronomicheskaia 
Bay, Srednyaya Bay, and Three Brothers Cape. The 
interments have not been dated. Some of the graves 
contained stone spearheads; a bone harpoon knob 
and a harpoon head with a closed socket were 
also among the finds. Dull blue glass beads were 
found in one of the graves at Astronomicheskaia 
Bay. A pot with waffle patterning on the surface 
was recovered from Burial 2 at Three Brothers 
Cape (Beliaeva 1 967). Other glass beads appear in 
the Siberian Arctic in the sixteenth century; their 
distribution among the indigenous ethnic groups 
of Siberia is associated with the establishment of 
trade relations with the Russians. Russian settlers 
would have take some time to penetrate far north- 
east Siberia; therefore, the burial containing the 
bead should be dated to the seventeenth century at 
the earliest. The graves in Astronomicheskaia Bay 
and on Three Brothers Cape cannot be regarded 
as contemporaneous; the latter must be earlier. 
According to C. F. Debets and N. N. Mamonova, the 
skulls found in the graves may belong to Yukagir or 
Even [formerly Lamuts] (Beliaeva 1967:84). These 
finds are of great interest relative to the ethnic 
aspect of the Ymiyakhtakh culture. 

Some specimens of waffle pottery found at ancient 
Koryak sites may date to as early as the first millen- 
nium B.C. If the thirteenth-century date proposed by 
Vasil'evskii for the later types of Koryak waffle pottery 
is correct, it marks the latest date for that method of 
producing pottery in northern Eurasia. 

Fragments of pots with waffle patterns have also 
been found among ancient Eskimo cultures. Examples 
were found at the Sireniki dwelling site. Fragments 
with traces of ribbed paddling and one piece with 
a indistinct "check-stamp" were discovered among 
sherds of more typically Eskimo thick-walled vessels 



near Chaplino Promontory (Rudenko 1947:38, 52, 
93, table 26). Waffle pottery has also been found at 
the Miyowagh site on St. Lawrence Island (Collins 
1937:1 69, fig. 1 7) and at many settlements in Alaska 
where it is dated to the mid-first millennium B.C. and 
later. Finally, pots with waffle-patterned surfaces have 
been recovered from Mokhe sites in the Amur River 
region dated to the fifth through eighth centuries 
A.D., namely the cemetery nearTroitskoye village and 
the Sikachi-alyan settlement (D'iakova and Shavkunov 
1975:165, fig. 3). 

The waffle-pottery-making tradition indicates 
that Ymiyakhtakh peoples may have been involved 
in the origins of many East Siberian and Northeast 
Asian peoples. Although there are few osteological 
materials associated with the tradition— two skulls 
from the Chuchur-Muran cemetery and one skull 
each from the Ust-Belaya cemetery and the Boguchan 
burial— they differ so significantly (Dikov 1 979:1 54; 
Fedoseeva 1980:80, 82; Gokhman 1961; Levin 
1958:162, 163; lakimov 1950) that they cannot be 
considered to be the same type. Ymiyakhtakh culture 
may have had a complex, polyethnic composition. 
Waffle pottery therefore cannot be associated with 
any single ethnic community. Otherwise it would be 
logical to assert that the Norton culture that existed 
in Alaska in the mid-first millennium B.C. and the 
Ymiyakhtakh sites of East Siberia are associated with 
one ethnic group. 

According to Mochanov (1 969: 1 96), Ymiyakhtakh 
peoples influenced the development of the ances- 
tors of northeastern Asian peoples (Chukchi and 
Koryak). The involvement of waffle (pseudo-textile) 
pottery groups in Koryak ethnogeny has been dis- 
cussed by Vasil'evskii (1971:174-176, 192). Dikov 
regarded the Ust-Belaya culture as a northeastern 
Asian tradition most likely ancestral to the Chukchi. 
Noting that waffle pottery was an element of both 
the ancient Koryak and the North Chukotka cultures, 
Dikov suggests that ceramic similarities were the 
original source of the Chukchi-Koryak community 
(Dikov 1979:140, 154-159, 212). Okladnikov 

(1955a) associated waffle pottery sites with the 
ancestors of the Yukagir and Nganasan. The idea 
that waffle pottery groups were the Asian ancestors 
of the Yukagir or the proto-Yukagir is convincing 
(Khiobystin 1969b, 1973c:163; 1975:104), assum- 
ing that linguistically they were not yet part of the 
Ural community. Fedoseeva also concludes that 
Ymiyakhtakh peoples played an important part in 
the formation of northeastern Asian populations and 
that they could have contributed to the ethnogeny 
of the Yukagir (1980:21 5). 

Sites such as FVasina IV-Aand Dushkachan, which 
combine the Ymiyakhtakh waffle pottery tradition 
with patterns from East Siberia, indicate complex 
origins for the population that created them. The for- 
mation of the ancient Yukagir thus occurred through 
a combination of East and West Siberian features. 
The relationship of the Yukagir language to the Ural 
linguistic group and to the Samoyedic languages in 
particular has been noted by some scholars (Collinder 
1940; Harms 1977; Meschaninov 1948). Kreinovich 
(1 958:254) concluded that, in addition to some 
Altai languages, the Samoyedic languages played an 
important role of the formation of Yukagir. 

Lexical equivalents for "copper" and "bronze" 
in the Yukagir and Samoyedic languages indicate 
a time period when the ancient Yukagir were still 
in contact with East Samoyedic-speaking peoples. 
The Yukagir word "norokhon" (copper) has paral- 
lels in all Samoyedic languages. The Samoyedic 
names for copper have a similar phoneme, "nar" or 
"nor"; that is, "norumu" (Nganasan), "nara" (Enets), 
"nyar" (Selkup), and "nyarava" (Nenets). These words 
have a common stem evident in the words "noru" 
(Nganasan), "narzese" (Enets), "nyarky" (Selkup), and 
"nyar'yana" (Nenets) for "red." The Yukagir for "red" is 
"n'amut'-enil." The word "n'ornej," meaning "yellow," 
is obviously a derivative of the word for "copper." The 
fact that in the languages of other Yukagir neighbors 
the words for "copper" and other metals have stems 
other than "nor" or "nar" suggests that the word for 
"copper" was adopted by the Yukagir from Samoyedic, 



togetherwith the knowledge of copper metallurgy at 
a time when the two ethnic groups were in contact 
(Khiobystin 1 979a). This contact may be dated to the 
second half of the second millennium and the early 
part of the first millennium B.C., a period marked by 
sites with evidence of mixed Ymiyakhtakh and West 
Siberian traditions. 

The words for "iron" in the Yukagir language, 
"ludul" and "t'yon," differ from those in the Samoyedic 
languages, where they can be traced to a single 
Finno-Ugric-Samoyedic stem "vas." This suggests 
that at the time of theirfirst experience with iron, the 
Yukagir were no longer in contact with Samoyedic- 
speaking peoples, possibly because some other 
ethnic group was wedged between them. The com- 
mon phoneme "tu" is found in both "dul," the Yukagir 
word for iron, and "tul'a," the Ket word for copper. 
In some languages, the words for "copper" or "iron" 
were understood to mean "metal"; thus, the idea that 

the Yukagir adopted the word for iron from the Ket, 
or some other ancient people of the Yenisey region 
would appear plausible. At least in the Early Iron Age, 
about the second half of the first millennium B.C., the 
Yukagir were in contact with Yenisey ethnic groups. 
Apparently during that period, Ket ethnic groups 
were spreading northward along the Yenisey valley 
(Dul'zon 1 962) and were responsible for the separa- 
tion of the Yukagir from Samoyedic speakers. 

The propinquity of the Yukagir and the Nganasan 
anthropological types was consistently noted by 
Zolotareva (1 962, 1 968, 1 971 , 1 975) who came to 
the conclusion that there could have been a still closer 
relationship between these types in the past, when 
they formed a fairly homogeneous anthropological 
community associated with the primeval population 
of the Yenisey-Lena interfluvial. That population 
apparently represented the Khatanga anthropologi- 
cal type. 



80/ An abandoned Nganasan camp along the Avam River, near the village of Ust-Avam, western Taymyr, 
2001 . Old poles from a skin-covered tent (choomj are lying on the ground in front of the abandoned ritual 
sleigh. According to local beliefs, to touch the contents of the old sleigh would bring misfortune. Photogra- 
pher John Ziker. 

and the fv^edieval fenod 


The Iron Age of Siberia has not been uniformly 
investigated. In West Siberia, as well as in the Ob 
and Irtysh Basins, a number of sites have been found 
dating to various periods of the Iron Age. Their cul- 
tural identification and chronology are dealt with in 
numerous publications, V.N. Chernetsov's studies 
(1953a, b) foremost among them. Survey work on 
Iron Age sites in Evenkia was begun by G.I. Andreev, 
but unfortunately was of short duration. At present, 
only a few sites are known in Evenkia. There are many 
sites dating to the Iron Age in Yakutia but the number 
of finds is small. Furthermore, many artifacts were 
mixed with or resemble material from other periods, 
especially the Bronze Age, making the identification 
of Iron Age sites difficult. As a result, the Early Metal 
Period [a general term used by Russian archaeologists 
to designate a period of time in which some kind of 
metal was in use —Ed.] has remained understudied, 
although as early as the 1 940s, Okladnikov identified 
the types of pottery characteristic of the Iron Age and 
proposed a chronology (Okladnikov 1 945, 1 946). 

An important contribution to our knowledge of 
the Iron Age in Yakutia was made by S. A. Fedoseeva 
(1968, 1970a, b, c, d, 1974) who identified Ust-Mil 
pottery typical of the Bronze and Early Iron Age and 
established a chronological framework based on the 
study of Vilyui sites and stratified Aldan settlements. 
The Ust-Mil culture was dated from the early tenth 
to the middle of the first century B.C.; the beginning 
of the Iron Age was dated to about the beginning of 
the Christian Era. I.V. Konstantinov (1 978) elaborated 

upon Fedoseeva's work; he was the first to review all 
available material on the Early Iron Age in Yakutia. 

The Iron Age of the forest and tundra zones of 
East Siberia is still poorly known; even the stratified 
Aldan sites give only a rough idea of the evolution 
of cultures during the Early Metal Period over the 
immense territory of East Siberia for over two thou- 
sand years. The study of these sites is of primary 
importance because of the many questions regard- 
ing the ethnogenesis of East Siberian peoples. The 
investigation of sites on Taymyr dated from the first 
millennium B.C. to the first millennium A.D. has 
much to contribute to these questions. Prominent 
among the Taymyr sites is the stratified settlement 
of Ust-Polovinka. 

The Ust-Polovinka Site and 
the Pyasina Culture 

In the mid-first millennium B.C., the population of 
the Taymyr Peninsula entered the Early Iron Age. 
Excavations of a settlement at the mouth of the 
Polovinka River resulted in the discovery of extraor- 
dinary material from this period. Several layers of Iron 
Age deposits buried in sand and datable by radiocar- 
bon methods make the site a point of reference in 
the study of the Iron Age of North Siberia. 

The small Polovinka River is a left-bank tributary 
of the Pyasina River and discharges into it 53 kilome- 
ters downstream from its source in Lake Pyasino. At 
the mouth of the Polovinka on its left bank is a sand 
ridge that is also an ancient natural levee (Fig. 81) 

1 1 1 

a little over 600 meters long and 1 5 to 25 meters 
wide. It rises 0.7 to 1 .5 meters above the terrace on 
which it is located; the middle is the highest part of 
the ridge. The levee is separated from the Pyasina by 
a 20-to-30-meter floodplain, the width of which varies 
due to water level fluctuations. The terrace is about 
4.5 meters high in the dry season. The gently slop- 
ing inside edge of the levee merges with the surface 
of the terrace, as does its northern end. Beyond the 
levee lies a marsh and still farther is the gentle rise 
of Terrace 2. 

Most of the levee has been damaged by wind ero- 
sion, with small areas of stable turf surface between 
the blowouts. In the blowouts are accumulations of 

E3-1 B-2 EZIl-3 [o]-4 
O- 5 [vZD- 6 [Ki- 7 frn- 8 

10 m 

1 I I I I I 

81/ Map of the Ust-Polovinka site. Legend: 1 = outline of the 
beach ridge; 2 = outline of blowouts; 3 = turf surface; 4 = small 
blowouts; 5 = rock accumulations; 6 = flake concentrations; 7 
= hearths; 8 = excavation areas. 

hearth stones, patches of burned soil, stone artifacts, 
traces of bronze casting, and occasional fragments 
of pottery. In some places, the blowout walls display 
charcoal bands in cultural layers. The first finds were 
encountered in the blowouts near the mouth of the 
Polovinka and subsequently were found in all blow- 
outs as far as the northern end of the levee; however, 
they are concentrated mostly in its middle section. 
Typological analysis of the materials and stratigraphic 
observations indicate that these materials are not all 

The settlement was discovered in 1971 and 
investigated in 1972 and 1973, when five areas of 
the levee were excavated. Excavation Area I was 
88 square meters; Area II, 30 square 
meters; Area III, 36 square meters; Area 
IV, 24 square meters; and Area V, 8 square 
meters. Foundations of semi-subterranean 
dwellings were found in Areas I, II, and III; 
remains of a dwelling were discovered in 
Area IV; excavation of Area V revealed a 
hearth contemporaneous with the dwell- 
ings. Additionally, a hearth containing 
some Baikit pottery was exposed 10 to 
12 meters north of Area III. The stratified 
deposits over the dwellings comprised 
cultural layers of several later Iron Age 

Correlation of stratigraphic sections 
with cultural layers of Areas I through IV and 
radiocarbon dates indicates that besides a 
Neolithic site, there existed on the levee 
at least five successive settlements dat- 
ing to three different occupation periods 
between the mid-first millennium B.C. and 
the twelfth century A. D. The earliest period 
consists of material from Cultural Layer II 
of Excavation Area III; Cultural Layer III of 
Areas I, II and IV; and Cultural Layer IIA of 
Area II. This material served to identify the 
Pyasina culture. The next stage of occupa- 
tion is associated with the Malokorenninsk 



culture. The first traces of habitation associated with north for 5.5 meters, measures about 4.5 to 5 meters 
this culture came from Cultural Layer II of Excavation in width and about 27 square meters. Most of the 

Area II, whereas Cultural Layer II of Areas I and IV northern and southern edges of the pit walls were 
appears to mark the final period in the occupa- well preserved. The recorded height of the northern 
tion of Ust-Polovinka by the 
Malokorenninsk population. 
Finally, Cultural Layer I in 
Areas I through IV indicates 
that Ust-Polovinka was occu- 
pied by people who may be 
associated with the ancient 
Tungus tradition. 

The Pyasina culture, 
named for the concentra- 
tion of sites on the Pyasina 
River, is exemplified at Ust- 
Polovinka by dwelling com- 
plexes and corresponding 
artifacts. The dwellings were 
dug some way into the lami- 
nated sand, the principal 
constituent of the levee. 
The dwelling exposed in 

Excavation Area I (Figs. 82, 

, r 82/ Map of Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka. Legend: 1 = outline of floor of 

83) had a rectangular foun- / r / r, , r- 

house-pit; 2 = outline of upper level of pit; 3 = hearths; 4 = flakes; 5 = ceram- 
dation pit; the edges were .^^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^ ^^^^.^i^ fragments; 10 

oriented almost precisely ^ , , ^ artifact concentrations; 12 = scrapers; 13 = sidescrapers; 14 
with the cardinal directions. = arrowhead; 15 = stone knives; 16 = bronze knife; 17 = whetstones; 18 = 
The pit extends from south to hammerstone; 1 9 = bronze ornament; 20 = iron fragments. 


'- 9 

T - 



c^- 10 



% - 3 

0- 11 



- -4 

C- 12 



i - 5 

Ck - 13 

' -6 

HC - 14 

■ - 7 

H - 15 
H6- 16 

83/ Stratigraphic profile of Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = upper soil (turf); 2 = buried soil; 3 
= brown sand and humus; 4 = humus lenses; 5 = charcoal lenses and hearths; 6 = bedded sands; 7 = light, 
sandy loam; 8 = gray sand. 


and southern walls is 0.3 meters and 0.2 meters, 
respectively. The sloping condition of the walls indi- 
cates crumbling and suggests that they used to be 
more upright and of greater height. Wind erosion 
affected the western and eastern pit walls. In the 
latter case, the dwelling boundary can be identified 
by the charcoal cover of the floor and the coincident 
distribution of finds. 

The even surface of the floor inclines slightly to 
the south; the difference in the floor level between the 
northern and southern sides of the pit is 0.1 meters. 
In its northeastern section, the floor is marked by a 
thin charcoal layer and in the western section by a 
brown crust of caked sand with mottled crimson-to- 
black spots containing small pieces of charcoal and a 
material resembling rotten hides. In the southeastern 
corner, the charcoal layer was as much as 6 to 8 
centimeters thick and was divided into three levels 
by sand lenses of a lighter color that merged in the 
middle of the pit. These lenses were probably formed 
by sand falling from the roof through the wooden 
cover when the dwelling was unoccupied, providing 
evidence of seasonal use. 

In the southeastern quarter of the dwelling, a 
section of floor 1.2 meters from the eastern wall 
and 0.7 meters from the southern wall had abundant 
charcoal and ash remains, forming an accumulation 
that was sub-rectangular in plan and measured 0.9 
by 0.6 meters. An accumulation up to 1 centimeters 
thick was slightly below the ground level, underneath 
the charcoal layer on the floor; in all probability this 
feature was a hearth. There was also charcoal con- 
centrated in the corner of the dwelling behind the 
hearth. Here, in the floor layer, lenses of birch-bark 
were found as well as dry, rotted matter resembling 
hides. This corner also yielded most of the artifacts. 
Reindeer bones in a poor state of preservation lay 
among large stones, as well as flakes, several stone 
scrapers, a pebble tool, fragments of crucibles, and 
drops of bronze. There were also sizable accumula- 
tions of large pot sherds. One of the bones had been 
worked into a shape resembling a harpoon base. Ten 

to fifteen centimeters east of the hearth lay an angle 
knife with a bronze handle and an iron blade (Fig. 
84:3); the lower section of the knife was covered with 
a piece of birch-bark, which is probably the remains 
of a sheath. 

There were also finds such as scrapers, flint 
flakes, small fragments of pottery, and pieces of 
crucibles and drops of bronze northwest of the 
hearth in the center of the dwelling. In the northern 
section of the foundation pit were bronze arrowheads 
(Fig. 84:6) and a fragment of a tetrahedral needle or 
borer, as well as a bronze casting— an oval plate with 
concentric fluting on one side (Fig. 84:5). Strewn in 
the northwestern corner were numerous fragments 
of crucibles, one of which we were able to restore 
and which, together with other fragments, provides 
information about their type (Figs. 85:1 ; 86:1 ). This 
crucible is oval and has a flat bottom 4 centimeters 
thick, a semi-ovoid 1 50 cubic centimeter reservoir 
and walls that thin toward the top edge. The nar- 
row end has a spout. The crucible measures 13 
centimeters in length and 1 1 centimeters wide; it 
is 6.5 centimeters high at the spout end and 7.5 
centimeters high on the opposite side. The capacity 
of some crucibles was increased by building up the 
sides, which made the edges thicker. Sometimes the 
edges above the melted metal line are fused and 
have bronze inclusions. A marked disintegration of 
the crucible bases can be observed by the burning 
of the clay, which was finely washed and contained 
no admixture. Such crucibles differ from the round- 
bottomed vessels used for melting and casting metal 
in their fine paste. Fragments of at least twelve cru- 
cibles were found in the dwelling. 

The stone inventory consists of eleven scrapers 
(Fig. 87:2-4, 6, 7, 9-14), a leaf-shaped arrowhead 
or knife fragment (Fig. 87:1), a chisel-like tool (Fig. 
87:8), a borer made of a chalcedony blade (Fig. 
87:15), three blades, and a core. A flat grinding 
stone, sub-oval in shape and with thinned edges 
(Fig. 88:1) found in the western section of the dwell- 
ing was probably used for sharpening metal tools. 



84/ Artifacts from Ust-Polovinka: mold core for celt casting (no. 1): metal artifacts 
(2, 3, 5, 6); and a bead (4). 

85/ Crucibles from Ust-Polovinka. 

86/ Crucibles (nos. 1 , 3) from Ust-Polovinka and Pyasina IV-A (2). 

1 1 5 

87/ Lithic artifacts from Excavation Area I, Ust-Poiovinka. 

3 cm 2 

I I I I 

88/ Grinding stone from the dwelling located in 89/ Partial ceramic vessel from the dwelling 

Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka (left) and from located in Excavation Area I, Ust-Polovinka. 
Malaya Korennaya I (2). 


90/ Ceramics from the dwelling located in Excava- 
tion Area I, Ust-Polovinka. 

91 / Ceramics from the dwelling located in Excava- 
tion Area I, Ust-Polovinka. 

92/ Artifacts from Ust-Polovinka: an iron tool (no. 
I) and ceramics from the dwelling (2). 


A similar artifact was found among the material at 
Malaya Korennaya I (Fig. 88:2). Two pestle-shaped 
pebble tools were recovered from the dwelling. 
Lying near the firepit was a charred cylindrical bead 
(Fig. 84:4). Such beads were common in the second 
half of the second to early first millennium B.C. in 
the south of East Siberia among Glazkovo, Shiversk, 
and other contemporaneous peoples (Okladnikov 
1 955b:l 67-1 74); they were in use in South Siberia in 
the Andronovo and Karasuk traditions and are known 
from the Tagar culture as late as the first half of the 
first millennium B.C. (Kiselev 1951:79, 130, 230). 
Another find was a piece of pitch apparently used to 
fill cracks or cover the seams of birch-bark objects. 

Among the other finds are fragments of nine pots 
with distinctive decoration consisting of rocker-stamp 
impressions or rows of comb-stamp impressions and 
belts of widely spaced pits (Figs. 89-94). A notable 
feature is the use of a decorative triangular ridge at 
the rim (Figs. 89, 91:1). 

No postholes were discovered in clearing the 
floor, which suggests that either the dwelling had a 
log frame or, more likely, that the roof rested on the 
edge of the foundation pit and may not have been 
fastened in the ground, as is the case with modern 
wooden golomo structures. As Graham Clark has 
noted, very complex houses can be built without 
digging a single posthole (1953:140). The dating 
of the charcoal from the lens in the southeastern 
corner of the floor of the dwelling was 2830 ± 70 
B.P. (LE 1 104). 

The dwelling in Excavation Area II (Figs. 95, 96) is 
located on the levee 40 meters northeast of Dwelling 
I. Over the central part of the dwelling rose a section 
of levee with intact, stratified deposits. However, 
the edges of the dwelling lay beyond that section 
and were partially destroyed by wind erosion. The 
northern and the southern walls of the foundation 
pit were 0.2 meters high. In several wind-eroded 
places, it was possible to identify the base of the 
wall. Although the floor and the underlying sand 
were wind eroded in some places, the distribution 

1 1 7 

93/ Pyasina-type ceramics from Ust-Polovinka Area 
I dwelling. 

95/ Map of Excavation Area II, Ust-Polovinka. Leg- 
end: I = outline of floor of house-pit; 2 = outline of 
upper level of pit; 3 and 4 = hearths; 5 = slab-cov- 
ered pit; 6 = bones; 7 = stones; 8 = flakes; 9 = bowl 
and crucible fragments; 10 = ceramics; 1 1 = blade 
concentration; 12 = scrapers; 13 = sidescrapers; 
1 4 = arrowhead. 

94/ Pyasina-type ceramics from Ust-Polovinka Area 
I dwelling (1 , 2, 4) and Area II (3). 

3 2 

96/ Stratigraphic profile of Excavation Area II, Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = upper soil (turf); 2, 3 = buried 
soil; 4 = charcoal lenses and concentrations; 5 = annealed sands; 6 = bedded sands; 7 = light sands; 8 = 
yellow-gray sand; 9 = pollen samples. 


of the thin black or brown humus-charcoal lens that 
marked the floor revealed the general location of 
the walls of the foundation pit and thus indicated 
its outline. The rectangular depression extended 5.3 
meters in the southwest to northeast direction and 
4.2 meters in the northwest to southeast direction; 
its total area amounted to some 22 square meters. 
As in the case of Dwelling I, there were no traces of 
pestholes inside the depression. 

The dwelling was heated by a fire made on a 
small pile of sand and the charcoal layer rose 5 to 
1 centimeters above floor level. Preliminary clearing 
suggested that the hearth had a sub-oval outline, 
was elongated to the southeast, and measured 1 by 
1.2 meters. It was later established that the hearth 
was originally rectangular in shape and measured 
1 by 0.9 meter, but the charcoal layer had slipped 
to the southeast down the slope of a hole dug near 
the hearth. The charcoal layer in the hearth was as 
much as 6 centimeters thick; the underlying sand was 
baked to a depth of 8 centimeters and was bright red 
in color. The charcoal from the hearth yielded a date 
of 2490 ± 1 00 B.P. (LE 1 1 46). Among the charcoal 
were large fragments of a pot resembling the vessels 
from the dwelling in Excavation Area I, fragments of 
a crucible, and small charred bones. 

Near the southeast edge of the hearth, on the 
slope of the hole, lay a large flat stone. The hole 
measured 0.74 by 1 meter and had an oval outline 
and a trough-shaped cavity that reached the underly- 
ing sub-soil sand. The hole was 1 5 centimeters deep 
in the center as measured from floor level. The hole 
was surrounded by and filled with brownish humus- 
sand with a sprinkling of charcoal and contained 
broken bones and three reindeer skull caps without 
antlers. The floor lens in the northeastern corner of 
the dwelling contained reindeer bones in a poor state 
of preservation. In the eastern part of the dwelling 
was Hearth 5, which measured 0.5 by 0.7 meter. A 
fragment of a vessel and some burned bones were 
found in the 4-centimeter-thick charcoal layer. As 
the humus lens of the floor was under the hearth. 

it appears that the hearth was constructed after the 
dwelling had been abandoned. 

Compared with the dwelling in Excavation Area 
I, the finds in the Area II dwelling were few and their 
distribution was chaotic. Lying in the hearth were 
fragments of a pot with a rim diameter of about 20 
centimeters, decorated with an applied rim and four 
rows of stamped impressions (Fig. 97). 

Fragments of one of the other two pots found 
in the dwelling were lying on the floor and on the 
wind-eroded surface. This pot was small and round- 
bottomed (Fig. 94:3) about 1 1 centimeters in height 
with a rim diameter of 1 centimeters. The decoration 
consisted of a row of pits and six encircling pricked 
lines made with a narrow, angled stick. The imprints 
of the stick are so close together that the composition 
resembles a cord imprint. Only a few undecorated 
fragments remained of the third pot. 

Fragments of at least three flat-bottomed cruci- 
bles, a scraper showing extreme use-wear (Fig. 98:7), 
a borer made from a discolored flake (Fig. 98:3), three 
small retouched chisels (Fig. 98:4, 6, 9), and a large 
quartzite pebble turned into a chopping tool (Fig. 99:2) 
were also recovered from the dwelling. The other finds 

97/ Vessel fragment from Excavation Area II, 



98/ Lithic artifacts from Excavation Area II, Ust-Polovinka. 

t I I I 

99/ Lithic artifacts from Ust-Polovinka. 

included a grinding plate, pieces of flint, a blade with 
edge retouch (Fig. 98: 1 ), and small potsherds. Lying 
next to the southern wall was a pile of six blades of 
different varieties of siliceous schist that were prob- 
ably left there wrapped or bound together. 

The small number of finds and the thin floor 
layer suggest that the dwelling was in use for a short 
time. It was abandoned and fell into ruin while the 
Pyasina culture was still in existence. This conclusion 
is indicated by finds from Layer IIA in the laminated 

sand that filled the foundation depression. Layer IIA 
is marked by a sprinkling of charcoal and Hearth 3 
was located 1 7 to 20 centimeters above Hearth 4. 
Hearth 3 was a black mass of charcoal 1 to 1 .8 meters 
in diameter, about 5 centimeters thick in the center. 
Part of a small pot with a rim diameter of 5.5 centi- 
meters was recovered from the hearth. The vessel is 
ornamented around the rim section with several rows 
of tiny impressions. Judging by the decoration and 
the consistency of the clay paste, this pot is related 
to Pyasina-type pottery. Near the hearth and in the 
layer containing small pieces of charcoal lay tiny 
pieces of porous ceramics that resembled daubing 
material more than pottery fragments. 

The dwelling in Excavation Area III (Figs. 1 00, 1 01 ) 
is 50 meters southeast of Dwelling I. The western 
half of the foundation pit was in a satisfactory state 
of preservation and was hidden under the deposits 
of the uneroded part of the levee. The deposits 
measured 90 centimeters thick from the dwelling 
floor. The eastern wall of the dwelling was destroyed 
by wind erosion. However, the floor edge, and thus 
the outline of the dwelling, could be determined by 



a layer of brownish humus-sand interspersed with 
small pieces of charcoal that terminated abruptly 
at the wall. 

The foundation pit was dug into gray laminated 
sand and, judging by the remaining walls, was at 
least 60 centimeters deep. The vertical walls were 
apparently reinforced with wood, which prevented 
them from collapsing, yet no traces of any post struc- 
tures were found in the pit. Rectangular in outline, 
the pit was oriented almost along a north-south axis. 
Measuring 5 by 4.6 meters, it covered an area of 23 
square meters. The 1 .4 meter-wide entrance in the 
southern pit wall had a 20-centimeter-high step at the 
edge of the pit; the entrance then ran horizontally for 
one meter and rose at an angle of 30 to 3 5 degrees. 
The end of the entrance was lost in the overlying 
deposits. The length of the remaining entrance cor- 
ridor was 1 .8 meters. 

A 1 5-to-20-centimeter-wide trench ran along the 
western wall of the foundation pit. The humus-char- 
coal accumulation on the floor was divided into two 
levels by a sand lens, which probably resulted from 
occupation intervals. Pieces of birch-bark and traces 
of bones and hides (?) were found in the northeast. 
In the middle of the eastern half of the dwelling, at 
floor level, was Hearth 2, which had a round outline 

and a diameter of one meter. In the hearth and next 
to it lay a broken crucible and fragments of pottery. 
One fragment bore traces of ribbed paddle impres- 
sions; the other was part of a rim decorated with an 
incised pattern. 

D C B-1 B A 



C "a- s,^ 



1 H 


' C O ' 4 

1a- . HC 

^ , ■ 

Hearlh 2 / 






/ ' 
/ 1 

♦ - c / 
fi, / 

^ ' 

; / 1 

' / ' 
' / ' 

^ _ y 

. - 1 HC - 6 / 

' - 2 H - 7 / 
1-3 -* - 8 

/ / ' -- 


1 r 

— ■ 5 i^jz. - 10 ,^' ~ 

100/ Map of Excavation Area III, Ust-Polovinka. 
Legend: 1 = flakes; 2 = bowl and crucible frag- 
ments, 3 = ceramics: 4 = artifact concentrations; 
5 = scrapers: 6 = arrowhead; 7 = knife; 8 = bones; 
9 = blades; 10 = hearths. 

H-1 e-3 n-4 [D-10E2a-l 1 

ED-5 S-6 B-7 □-8 Gl-9 

1 01 / Stratigraphic profile of Excavation Area III, Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = upper soil (turf); 2 = humus 
lenses; 3 = buried soil; 4 = dark yellow sand; 5 = humus lenses; 6 = yellow sand; 7 = charcoal lenses and 
concentrations; 8 = gray sand; 9 = bedded sand; 10 = brown sand; 1 1 = light brown sand. 



Four scrapers were found between the hearth and 
the eastern edge of the dwelling. Most of the finds, 
however, came from the northern part of the dwell- 
ing, including broken crucibles, small fragments of 
pottery, flakes, four blades, a triangular arrowhead 
(Fig. 102:11), a flake (Fig. 102:15), and scrapers. 
In all, ten scrapers were found in the dwelling (Fig. 
1 02:2, 5, 8-1 0, 1 2-1 4, 1 6). Charcoal from the hearth 
dated to the fourth century B.C., 2290 ± 1 00 B.P., or 
340 B.C. (LE 1 103). 

In Cultural Layer III of Excavation Area IV, which 
covered 16 square meters, a rectangular accumula- 
tion of charcoal was found that contained partially 
burned pieces of wood (Figs. 103, 104). The accu- 
mulation measured 2.2 by 2.7 meters; the charcoal 
layer, up to 8 centimeters thick, was divided by two or 
three light-colored sand lenses. The accumulation has 
well-defined borders and resembles a large hearth 
surrounded by pieces of wood. Recovered from it 
was a scraper (Fig. 1 05:1 ), an arrowhead (Fig. 1 05:3), 
bones, fragments of round and oval crucibles, and 
drops of cast bronze. Similar objects were found near 

102/ Lithic artifacts from the dwelling (nos. 1-3, 5- 
of Excavation Area III, Ust-Polovinka. 

the hearth. In addition to flakes, three scrapers (Fig. 
1 05:2, 4, 5), a heavy, utilized plate of siliceous schist 
with traces of retouch (Fig. 105:8), a broken knife, 
and near the southeastern corner, a pebble flaked 
at one end that was used as a fabricator, and a flat 
boulder that served as an anvil were recovered. Some 
of the pottery fragments were decorated with pricked 
designs. Another find was a piece of pitch, probably 
from larch wood, used to seal birch-bark boats. 

The radiocarbon date of the charcoal accumula- 
tion is 2440 ± 90 B.P., or 490 B.C. (LE 1 149, uncor- 
rected). The fact that the depth at which the finds 
were discovered corresponds to that of the dwelling 
floors in Excavation Areas I, II and III suggests these 
deposits were part of a single occupation. 

The hearth in Excavation Area V was in a wind- 
eroded spot, 78 meters south of Excavation Area 
IV, on laminated sub-soil sand. The round area of 
burned soil measured about one meter in diameter. 
The charcoal layer was 12 centimeters thick in the 
center of the hearth. Several stones lay next to it. 
The abundant pieces of charcoal in the hearth were 
dated to 2430 ± 50 B.P., or 480 
B.C. (LE 712, uncorrected). The 
charcoal layer contained many 
fragments of slag-encrusted 
pottery as well as a broken clay 
core [used to form a socket for 
a celt handle] (Fig. 84:1), parts 
of molds and crucibles, drops of 
cast bronze, and charred bones. 
Near the hearth lay a scraper 
(Fig. 105:6). The upper part of 
the hearth was affected by wind 
erosion. Two large arrowheads 
that lay nearby should probably 
be regarded as artifacts from a 
later period. The same is true 
of a thin-walled potsherd and 
three triangular arrowheads (Fig. 
/ 6) and the first layer 105:9-11) found in clearing the 
deposits of sand over the hearth. 



The abundant remnants of bronze casting, charcoal, 
and evidence of high temperature that affected the 
color of the sand underlying the charcoal layer and 
caused the encrustation of the pottery all point to 
the hearth as a locus of bronze casting. 

Pottery of the Pyasina culture is represented at 
the settlement by fragments of more than twenty 
vessels. The pots are egg-shaped, with slightly 
everted rims. The rim diameter generally measures 
between 2 5 and 30 centimeters, although there are 
some vessels with rim diameters of 20, 1 0, or even 
5.5 centimeters. The pot from Dwelling I (Fig. 80) 
that was in a better state of preservation than the 
other vessels has a rim diameter of 25 centimeters, 
a maximum body diameter of 32 centimeters, and a 
reconstructed height of 28 centimeters. The vessels 
are distinguished by thick walls that usually measure 
0.7 centimeter in thickness and as much as one 
centimeter on the larger pots. As a rule, the walls 
thin towards the rim. The pots were made using a 
stamping technique that gave the sherds a character- 

^ r B B 



~~ ^ ^ A 

\ ^ A . 
HC * 

. ^^ 1 

^ / \ 
- ' • \ 

/ ' 

^/ ^ 

/ Wood 
/ ^ 

\^ Bone 



A-2 HC-4 H-6 .-8 

] 03/ Map of Excavation Area IV, Cultural Level III, 
Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = flakes; 2 = bowl and 
crucible fragments: 3 = ceramics; 4 = arrowhead; 
5 = scrapers; 6 = knife; 7 = artifact concentration; 
8 = bronze droplets. 

istic lamellar appearance. However, only three pots 
have distinct paddle impressions; large rectangular 
"waffle" cells on the lower part of a pot from Dwelling 
I and ribs on vessels from Dwellings II and III. The rest 
of the pottery was apparently shaped with a smooth 
paddle and burnished afterwards. A characteristic 
feature of Pyasina potter/ is coarse-grained temper, 
sometimes with the addition of a small amount of 
hair— evidence of the continuing traditions of the 
Ymiyakhtakh culture. 

Pyasina pottery has distinctive ornamentation con- 
sisting of such elements as rounded pits, vertical or 
inclined comb-stamps or stick impressions, applied 
ridges (coils with triangular cross-sections that were 
applied below the rim), and grooves. Decoration was 
applied to the rim edge and to the upper part of the 
vessel. The straight section of the rim and its exterior 
were decorated with slanted impressions. Below the 
rim was the principal ornamental band consisting 
of two, three or four horizontal rows of vertical or 
slanting, densely placed comb-stamp impressions. 
The latter often formed a linear pricked design. Under 
the rim of four pots was a ridge with oblique pricked 
lines. A horizontal zigzag consisting of the same ele- 
ments as the principal belt was sometimes applied 
beneath the rows of impressed designs. Under the 
band of one of the pots was a row of large Xs with 
pits between them, impressed using a comb stamp 
(Fig. 81 :2). The decorative band on another vessel is 
framed with groups of three pits (Fig. 84: 1 ). Typical 
of Pyasina pottery is the pattern of several— usually 
three— bands of deep pits, spaced 4 to 5 centimeters 
apart, with finger-pressed bulges inside the pots. 
The pricked pattern could be the basic ornament by 
itself. However, more often it was applied over the 
previously made combed or pricked ornamentation, 
alternating with pricked lines or filling the spaces 
between zigzags and crosses. Despite the diversity 
of ornamentation, Pyasina vessels constitute a single 
typological group with various combinations of dis- 
tinctive features. 



1 04/ Stratigraphic profile of Excavation Area IV, Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = upper soil (turf); 2 = brown 
sand, 3 = buried soil; 4 = brown-gray sand; 5 = light gray sand; 6 = charcoal lenses; 7 = yellow-gray sand; 
8 = rocks; 9 = bedded sands. 

11 12 

105/ Lithic artifacts from Ust-Polovinka: Excava- 
tion Area IV (nos. 1-5, 8); Excavation Area V (nos. 
6-7, 9-11). 

Of particular interest among the remains of the 
Pyasina culture are metal artifacts. Metal objects are 
generally rare finds at settlement sites, and their 
discovery in Dwelling I at Ust-Polovinka is another 
indication that the dwelling was destroyed by a natu- 
ral calamity. Especially interesting is the metal angle 
knife with an iron blade and bronze haft forming an 
angle measuring 120 degrees (Fig. 84:3). In order 
to make such a knife, it was necessary to place the 
blade into a mold and pour bronze to form a haft. The 
flat haft, 1 .5 to 2 millimeters thick, weighs about 20 
grams and measures 7 centimeters to the bending 
point, where it is connected to the blade and extends 
3 centimeters overthe joint. It was cast of tin-arsenic 

bronze based on copper with a high (1.5%) nickel 
content. The entire surface of the haft is thoroughly 
patinated. Only a small piece remains of the corroded 
1 .7 centimeter-wide blade. 

Composite angle knives were in widespread use 
among the ancient peoples of Siberia as early as the 
Neolithic; the tradition of making such tools was 
carried on by ancient bronze casters who fashioned 
single-cast angle knives that imitated composite mod- 
els (Khiobystina 1961). The bronze and iron angle 
knife was the earliest find of this type. Bronze-iron 
objects made their appearance in the earliest phase 
of the Iron Age. In Siberia such articles (daggers, 
straight knives, arrowheads, etc.) are characteristic 
of the second phase of the Tagar culture (Chlenova 
1967:22, 23; Grishin 1960:185; Kiselev 1951:1 75), 
the earliest dating from the fifth through the fourth 
century B.C. The age of the Ust-Polovinka knife, as 
determined from the radiocarbon dating of Dwelling I 
(2830 ± 70 B.P.) is appreciably older. 

In the northern Caucasus and in the lands north 
of the Black Sea, composite metal and early iron arti- 
facts appeared from the ninth through the first half 
of the seventh century B.C. (Krupnov 1 960:321-324; 
Terenozhkin 1961:185, 186; 1 976:1 04-1 06). The 
first iron made its way into the region north of the 
Black Sea from the northern Caucasus. In all likeli- 



hood, it was from the northern Caucasus that iron 
also penetrated West Siberia. Iron was probably 
in use in the south of West Siberia earlier than its 
use in the Tagar culture. However, considering the 
unquestionable ties between the Pyasina culture and 
West Siberia, familiarization with iron on the Taymyr 
Peninsula could have taken place independently of 
the cultures of South Siberia. In any event, even 
assuming that the charcoal in Dwelling I resulted from 
burning wood from trees of great age, the dates from 
other Pyasina sites fit within the fifth through fourth 
century B.C. time period. These dates correspond to 
the second stage of the Tagar culture, indicating iron 
production skills advanced quickly into Taymyr. Thus, 
the knife from Ust-Polovinka is the most ancient of 
all known iron tools of the Siberian region north of 
the Arctic Circle, and its discovery dates the Pyasina 
culture to the Early Iron Age. 

Another unique artifact is a flat, leaf-shaped 
arrowhead with a slightly concave base and a "rib" on 
either side along the midline that reinforces it (Fig. 
84:6). The arrowhead was cast in a double-sided, 
slightly asymmetrical mold; as a result the "rib" was 
somewhat off center. In the center of the arrowhead, 
near the rib edges, are holes formed from the cast 
that were intended for fastening the arrowhead to 
the shaft. The arrowhead, 8.3 centimeters long and 
weighing 9.8 grams, has no known parallels among 
Siberian tools. 

No less unique is the flat plate found together 
with the knife and the arrowhead in Dwelling I. The 
oval-shaped artifact is tapered at one end like an 
eye. Smooth on one side, the plate is decorated on 
the other with two grooves that follow the outline. 
The ornament may be interpreted as the likeness of 
the iris and pupil of an eye, which it also resembles 
in size, measuring 4.4 centimeters in length and 
2.3 centimeters wide. The plate is also convex, like 
an eyeball; it is 2 millimeters thick and weighs 9.3 

A bronze ingot weighing 73.1 grams was made of 
the bronze pieces extracted from the mold channels 

after casting. The clay core that forms the internal 
cavity of a celt provides evidence of the production 
of large tools. A tetrahedral awl, 7.2 centimeters 
long and weighing 12.1 grams, was found on the 
wind-eroded section of Plot 9 and is probably associ- 
ated with the Pyasina culture. Tetrahedral awls were 
in use among populations of South Siberia and the 
Trans-Baikal region at the end of the second and first 
millennia B.C. All of these finds, along with numer- 
ous crucibles and molds, are good indicators of the 
advanced state of development of the Pyasina metal 

Lithics were still of considerable importance in 
the Pyasina culture. Judging by finds from dwellings, 
small arrowheads and scrapers similar to those 
existing in the Bronze Age were produced as before. 
However, there were also some new features. Long 
and heavy bifacially worked scrapers with curved 
working edges appear for the first time. These tools 
display considerable use-wear. Another feature is 
careless retouch. No ground stone tools were dis- 
covered. Few blades were found in the dwellings, 
and they differ in raw material; perhaps they were 
collected at older sites and were not made by Pyasina 
people. The discolored surface and fresh retouch 
of the borer from Dwelling II and the scraper from 
Dwelling IV are relevant here. The raw material used 
was more diverse, but of lower quality. Chalcedony 
and jasper were used infrequently and tools of 
quartzite and low-grade siliceous schist began 
to appear. Quartzite and chert pebbles were also 
used; pebbles were employed either for flaking or 
as crude chopping tools. The chopper-shaped tool 
found on Terrace II at the mouth of the Polovinka 
mentioned in Chapter 1 may represent the Pyasina 
tradition. Among S. L. Troitsky's collections from 
the Zhdanikha settlement on the Khatanga River in 
eastern Taymyr is a large flaked pebble resembling 
a Palaeolithic tool. Crude chopping tools made from 
large pebbles also occur at Early Iron Age Yakutian 
sites (Fedoseeva 1970c:147; Konstantinov 1978: 
table V, 10). 



Similar changes to the lithic inventory took place 
as the Malokorenninsk culture replaced the Pyasina 
tradition. At Ust-Polovinka, stone artifacts from 
Pyasina and Malokorenninsk layers were mixed 
together so that it was difficult to identify them as 
belonging to one culture or the other (Figs. 106- 
1 1 3). As the Malokorenninsk deposits had eroded 
to a greater extent than the Pyasina deposits, the 
surface lithics may represent the Malokorenninsk 

On the basis of the material from Ust-Polovinka, 
the following may be identified as Pyasina sites: 
Pyasina XVI and XVII, Beregovaya, Dyuna V, and 
some surface materials from Pyasina III and IV, 
Malaya Korennaya I and III, Bolshaya Korennaya II, 
Kapkannaya II, as well as pottery from the Istok 
Pyasiny site. 

Istok Pyasiny was found by geologists from 
Norilsk while surveying rock outcrops on the high 
left bank of the Pyasina River where it turns sharply, 
making its way among the boulders of the Nyapansk 
moraine ridge, which backs up Lake Pyasino. The 
rim section of a pot with distinctive Pyasina features 
was found here. Judging by the sherd (Fig. 48:1), 
it was a large, thick-walled, open-shaped pot with 
a rim diameter of about 32 centimeters. The clay 
paste was tempered primarily with hair— probably 
reindeer hair as well as with grog [crushed pottery] 
and coarse-grained sand. The walls were about 8 
millimeters thick and the rim has a rounded edge. 
The vessel was made using a paddle that left large 
"waffle" impressions on the surface. 

The site of Beregovaya is located on the left bank 
of the Pyasina, twenty kilometers downstream from 
Ust-Polovinka. Sherds collected at Beregovaya were 
tempered with coarse-grained sand and decorated 
with diamond-shaped waffle impressions and round 
pits. Other sherds had triangular cross-section ridges 
similar to ridges on the pots from Ust-Polovinka. Some 
of the fragments are slag-encrusted on the inside. 
Pieces of a small (rim diameter of 1 cm) undecorated 
pot have hair impressions on the surface. 

Stone artifacts include a fragment of an arrow- 
head with a round base (Fig. 1 1 4:7), a scraper made 
of a flake (Fig. 1 1 4:8), fragments of two unidentified 
tools, made using a light-colored jasper-like stone, 
and four quartzite scrapers (Fig. 114:3-5, 10). A 
large oval scraper retained cortex on its dorsal side 
(Fig. 114:10). Two of the quartzite scrapers and a 
large scraper of siliceous schist (Fig. 1 14:1) display 
extreme use-wear; the use-wear on the working edges 
is visible even to the naked eye. Another find was 
an unfinished axe-type tool made from a quartzite 
pebble (Fig. 114:11). The predominance of quartz- 
ite flakes (n = 78) over flint (n = 10) indicates the 
growing importance of quartzite for making stone 
implements. A thin abrasive stone plate was also 
found at the site. 

The finds from the wind-eroded site of Dyuna 
V, discovered two kilometers upstream from 
Beregovaya, consisted of fragments of pottery with 
features typical of Pyasina ceramics and a small 
number of objects of chalcedony and light-colored 
jasper. Two small scrapers were recovered; both 
displayed extreme use-wear. One, of dark gray 
siliceous schist, had a pole-axe shape and a curved 
working edge characteristic of scrapers of the Early 
Iron Age. 

Fragments of a vessel similarto the small pot from 
Layer IIA of Ust-Polovinka Excavation Area II have 
also been found at Pyasina XVI. The hair-tempered 
vessel had a rim diameter of 6 centimeters and was 
decorated with a band of pits. Below the pits were 
rows of pricked designs made with a denticular stick 
(Fig. 1 1 5:4). Other finds from Pyasina XVI consisted 
of a scraper (Fig. 116:1 4), two blades— one of white 
jasper and the other of gray siliceous schist— and two 
flakes from a polished schist artifact. 

Conspicuous among the Pyasina pottery from 
Pyasina III is a pot with two grooves near the rim 
intended for the attachment of appliqued bands (Fig. 
1 15:1). The vessel is an example of the practice of 
decorating vessels with several ridges, a feature of 
Malokorenninsk pottery. 



Pyasina pottery at Pyasina IV included fragments 
of eight vessels. Five were of poor workmanship and 
decoration (Fig. 117:1 -4, 6), ornamented only with 
rows of pits and in four cases with comb impressions 
on the rim. The open-mouth pots had rim diameters 
of 22 to 24 centimeters, walls measuring 5 to 7 mil- 
limeters thick, and slightly curved rims. Comparison 
with the specimens of Pyasina pottery from Ust- 
Polovinka suggests that these poorly decorated pots 
were either household ware or, more likely, date to 
the final phase of Pyasina culture when its ornamen- 
tation traditions were in decline. Of some interest in 
this connection is another pot (Fig. 1 1 5:2) similar in 
size and shape to those described above but deco- 
rated near the rim with rows of dentate impressions, 
which distinguish it as Pyasina-type pottery. 

Fragments of pots ornamented only with pits and 
comb impressions on the rim are present among 
the surface material from Ust-Polovinka, Malaya 
Korennaya II and III, and Bolshaya Korennaya I and II. 
At these sites, as at Pyasina IV, such pottery occurred 
together with Malokorenninsk-type pottery, which 
exemplifies the further evolution of Pyasina pottery. 
It seems that poorly ornamented pottery may be 
characteristic of Pyasina-type pottery that coexisted 
with the Malokorenninsk variant. 

Pottery of the Pyasina culture combines two tra- 
ditions with different origins. One tradition, which 
manifests itself in the use of the stamping technique 
and hair temper, is associated with the Ymiyakhtakh 
culture. The other, characterized by different decora- 
tive techniques and coarse sand temper, stems from 
both the Baikit culture and the cultural traditions of 
West Siberian ceramics. The Baikit influence can be 
traced through Pyasina IV-A ware, the hybrid nature 
of which was described in Chapter 3. Pyasina IV-A 
vessels may be defined as the early Pyasina ware from 
which Pyasina pottery inherited linear-prick patterns. 
West Siberian traditions were the source of the comb 
patterns and bands of pits seen in Pyasina pottery. 
Pits, sometimes made over other design elements, 
are a distinctive feature of pottery from Neolithic 

Irtysh sites. This decorative tradition persisted in 
the comb-pit cultures and related Andronovo-like 
cultures of the Bronze Age in West Siberia, surviving 
at least until the mid-first millennium B.C. 

LP. Chemyakhin familiarized me with Beloyarsk 
pottery identified on the basis of material from the 
Barsova Cora settlements. In the seventh century B.C., 
the round-bottomed Beloyarsk vessels replaced the 
earlier flat-bottomed types. Beloyarsk pottery is the 
only ware in West Siberia that closely resembles the 
contemporaneous Pyasina ware. Particularly remark- 
able is the occurrence of crucibles with Beloyarsk 
pottery that are similar to the crucibles and molds of 
the Pyasina culture. Taking into account that western 
traditions other than those of Baikit manifest them- 
selves in Pyasina pottery, it is safe to assume that 
Pyasina peoples had cultural and, probably, ethnic 
ties with their southwestern neighbors. Thus, the 
Pyasina culture is a hybrid phenomenon that origi- 
nated at the boundary of two large cultural regions 
and resulted from the fusion of cultures created by 
ethnic groups with different origins. 

The radiocarbon dates for the Pyasina culture 
that were obtained for Ust-Polovinka's Pyasina com- 
plexes are 2830 ± 70 (LE 1104), 2490 ± 100 (LE 
1 1 46), 2440 ± 90 (LE 1 1 49), 2430 ± 50 (LE 71 2), and 
2290 ± 100 (LE 1 103) B.P., i.e., the ninth through 
fourth century B.C. The first date appears to be too 
early given that an iron knife was found in Dwelling 
I; the age of Dwelling I is based on that date. The 
first iron artifacts in the southern regions of Siberia 
date to the seventh century B.C., therefore, the date 
of the dwelling is probably too early. However, the 
rest of the radiocarbon dates are beyond question, 
and dating Dwelling I, along with the other Pyasina 
complexes, to the mid-first millennium B.C. would 
still imply that we are dealing with the earliest iron 
tool found in North Eurasia. If we assume that the 
initial development of the Pyasina culture dates to 
the first stage in the interaction of Ymiyakhtakh and 
Pyasina peoples, embodied in Pyasina IV-A pottery, 
then the Pyasina culture developed between the ninth 



I I I . I 

107/ Lithic artifacts collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka. 

108/ Lithic artifacts from the surface, Ust-Polovinka. 

1 09/ Arrowheads and scrapers from the surface, Ust- 

1 ] 0/ Scrapers from the surface, Ust-Polovinka. 

and eighth century B.C. The division between 
Pyasina culture and the Malokorenninsk tradition 
that succeeded it should be dated to the third 
through second century B.C. since there is a date 
forthe Malol<orenninsl< culture of 21 00 ± 50 B.P. 
(LE 1 147), or 1 50 B.C. (uncorrected) based on 
charcoal from Hearth 2 of the cultural layer of 
Ust-Polovinka Excavation Area II. 

The Malokorenninsk Culture 

The Malokorenninsk culture has been identi- 
fied on the basis of material from Cultural 
Layer II of the Ust-Polovinka settlement as weW 
as finds from Malaya Korennaya I, Bolshaya 
Korennaya II and Pyasina IV and VIII. The oldest 
Malokorenninsk cultural layer at Ust-Polovinka 
is Layer II in Area II. Exposed in this layer was 
Hearth 2, located 1 5 centimeters above Hearth 
3 in Layer Ha (Fig. 96). Hearth 2, rounded in 
outline, with a charcoal-stained diameter of one 
meter, is a peculiar feature. Under an upper layer 
of red baked sand five to six centimeters thick 
is a charcoal-rich stratum containing an upper 
five-centimeter-thick lens of baked sand with 
ash inclusions and a lower two-centimeter-thick 
band with three centimeters of baked red sand. 
The central part of the hearth has a maximum 
thickness of 1 7 centimeters; its northern section 
is damaged by a frost crack. The radiocarbon 
date of 21 00 ± 50 B.P. (LE 1 1 47) is based on 
charcoal from this hearth. 

In and near the hearth were numerous 
finds, mainly pieces of burned clay in the baked 
sand between the charcoal lenses. The pieces 
crumble readily and only some retain their 
original surface, which shows traces of smooth- 
ing, hatching, engraved lines, and occasionally 
imprints of some rough, grass-like vegetation. 
Some pieces with thinned edges resemble cru- 
cibles. The pieces of burned clay and the lens 
in which they were embedded are presumably 
the remains of a bronze-casting feature. In and 



/ / 1/ Lithic artifacts collected from the surface, Ust-Polovinka. 

1 1 2/ Abrasives and pebble tools from the surface, I 1 3/ Side-scraper from Ust-Polovinka. 


1 1 4/ Lithic artifacts from Beregovaya. 


next to the charcoal layer were large, broken, thick- 
walled crucibles. 

One restored crucible (Figs. 85:2; 86:3) measures 
16.5 centimeters long, 12.5 centimeters wide, and 
6.5 centimeters high, is oval in shape, has 1 to 1.5 
centimeter-thick walls and a two-centimeter-thick 
bottom. The narrow end of the crucible has a spout. 
The crucible has a volume of 1 30 cubic centimeters 
and resembles the small crucible from Pyasina IV-A 
and those crucibles found in the hearth of Excavation 
Area V at Ust-Polovinka. The bottom of the vessel 
was broken and the rim was fused in places and had 
bronze inclusions. Fragments of at least two similar 
objects with some bronze and bone fused to the 
sides were recovered from the layer. However, Layer 
II contained very few droplets of bronze. 

The lithic inventory of Ust-Polovinka includes 
fragments of three triangular arrowheads (Figs. 98:8; 
107:2, 3) found on the fringes of the hearth, a scraper 
(Fig. 98:9), and a blade. In and near the hearth were 
over sixty splinters and flakes of siliceous schist, 
quartzite, flint, and reddish jasper, some heavily 

Erosion at the edge of the hearth exposed some 
of the artifacts, including a sherd with closely spaced 
pricked lines made with a triangular pointed stick (Fig. 
1 24:3). Although no household pottery was found in 
the layer, the sherd may be linked to the similarly 
decorated sherd discovered on a wind-eroded section 
of the site (Fig. 1 24:1). Two ridges near the pot rim, as 
well as the rim edge, were engraved using a notched 
stick. Under the ridges the vessel was decorated with 
vertical lines of notched imprints and pits applied 
over the pattern. Other decorated sherds were also 
recovered (Fig. 1 25). 

In Area I, Cultural Horizon Ha was not marked by 
a distinct lens and was distinguished by the position 
of artifacts at the base of a band of laminated sand 
with humic lenses. Tentatively related to this horizon 
was a pot rim (Fig. 126:5) found in the frost-crack 
between Cultural Layer II and the dwelling floor. The 
rim, 28 centimeters in diameter, had a rounded edge; 

the fragment had two small ridge appliques. Coarse 
sand was used as a temper. The edge of a crucible 
and a sharp-butted scraper of low-grade reddish- 
yellow jasper were also associated with the horizon; 
the scraper had a beveled working edge that was 
heavily chipped due to use-wear (Fig. 1 28:3). 

Cultural Layer II of Excavation Area I was marked 
by a thin charcoal tens extending around Hearth 1 . 
The hearth had a trapezoidal outline and measured 
1 .2 by 1 .3 meters (Fig. 1 27). The charcoal deposits in 
the hearth, up to 1 5 centimeters thick, rose above the 
surrounding charcoal band that marked the cultural 
layer. The deposits in the hearth contained several 
lenses differing in charcoal content. The hearth was 
made in a depression formed in the underlying strata 
and presumably had been bordered by a wooden 
frame. The radiocarbon date for the hearth is 1660 
± 1 80 B.P. (LE 1 1 02), i.e., A.D. 290 (uncorrected). 

Finds from Layer II (Figs. 1 28, 1 29) came mainly 
from the hearth feature. The layer contained a con- 
siderable amount of bronze, crucible fragments, 
small burned bones, a broken hammerstone, a frag- 
ment of an iron object, two triangular arrowheads, 
undecorated pottery, quartzite spalls and flakes, 
and some flakes of dark-gray chert and jasper of 
different colors. Stone artifacts that occurred in the 
upper part of the hearth were not charred. Quartzite 
pebbles were presumably worked near the hearth in 
the final phases of its use. The finds made near the 
hearth comprised three arrowheads, three scrapers, a 
grinding plate, numerous crucible fragments, and the 
broken rim of a pot (Fig. 1 26:4) similar to the vessel 
from Horizon lla of Excavation Area I. Fragments of 
the latter vessel might have found their way into the 
frost-crack from Layer II. 

A small iron knife (Fig. 1 30) was recovered from a 
wind-eroded section of Layer II in the northern corner 
of the excavation area, together with fragments of a 
crucible, drops of bronze, and two arrowheads— one 
of jasper and the other of quartzite. The knife was 
made from a narrow plate 4 millimeters wide, 2 mil- 
limeters thick, and 1 0.2 centimeters long. The distal 



3 cm 
( I I I 

/ 15/ Ceramics from Pyasina III (no. I ); Pyasina IV (2, 3): Pyasina XVI (4); Malaya Korennaya 
(5-7, 9, 10); Bolshaya Korennaya II (8); Pyasina XVII (II). 

1 1 6/Lithic artifacts from: Pyasina VII A (no. 1 ): Pyasina VII (2, 3, 5-7); Pyasina XI (4); Pyasina 
XIII (8- 1 2, 1 5); Pyasina XIV (13); Pyasina XVI (14); Samos (1 6). 


half was hammered and sharpened to form a blade, 
and the proximal end served as a haft. A curved iron 
rod rectangular in cross-section and similar to a plate 
used for a knife blank was found on a wind-eroded 
spot of Plot 1 3 and presumably was intended for 
making similar knives. 

Layer II in Excavation Area III is marked by a thin 
charcoal lens (lb) in a depression on the site of a 
Pyasina culture dwelling (Fig. 131). The round hearth 
had a diameter of one meter; the charcoal layer in 

" UMi'ffW/fli 

/ /// Ceramics from Pyasina IV (nos. 1-4, 6) and 
Pyasina III (5). 

1 1 8/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina IV. 

the center of the hearth measured up to 7 centime- 
ters thick. Among the accumulation of stones and 
pebbles were fragments of a flat-bottomed mold. On 
the fringe of the hearth lay a rim fragment decorated 
with pricked lines and pits. Scattered near the hearth 
were flint spalls. Another find was a thin piece of 
daubing pitch with a birch-bark impression on the 
concave side. 

Cultural Layer II in Excavation Area IV (Fig. 1 32) 
is represented by a charcoal lens containing large 
stones, pebble accumulations, fragments of molds 
and crucibles, pieces of burned clay, an undecorated 
pot sherd, broken reindeer teeth, three triangular 
arrowheads with lightly concave bases, nine flakes of 
different kinds of flint, a chalcedony borer, a scraper 
blank, a piece of sandstone, and a siliceous schist 
blade. The latter, with its bleached color, resembles 
weathered Mesolithic and Early Neolithic artifacts. 

A single pot, found among the surface collections 
at Ust-Polovinka, is attributable to the Malokorenninsk 
type. The fragment, found on Plot 22 (Fig. 1 24:6), has 
a rim section decorated with an incised coil. Coarse- 
grained sand was used as the temper. 

Malaya Korennaya I is the site that provided 
material for the origi- 
nal identification of 
the distinctive type 
of pottery called 
"Malokorenninsk." The 
type is represented by 
fragments of two pots 
with two ridges each 
(Fig. 1 33:7, 8) and by 
fragments of six to 
seven other vessels 
that differ from Pyasina 
ware in their coarse 
manufacturing (Fig. 
1 33:1 , 5, 6). Apparently 
associated with the 
Malokorenninsk type 
is a hair-tempered 


/ / 9/ Lithic artifacts from Pyasina IV. 

1 20/ Retouched scrapers from Pyasina IV. 

121/ Retouched scrapers from Pyasina IV. 

ceramic object of irregular conical shape (Fig. 
133:10). A similar, curved article was found at 
Pyasina IV. Both objects resemble reindeer tines, 
but their function is uncertain. Fragments of four 
Malokorenninsk-type vessels were collected at 
Pyasina IV; the rim sections of three of the vessels 
had two ridges each. 

Fragments of pottery found at the Bolshaya 
Korennaya II and Pyasina VIII sites suggest 
that those sites were occupied during the 
Malokorenninsk culture period. However, the 
finds are few in number: fragments of two pots 
from Bolshaya Korennaya II (Figs. 115:8, 133:11) 
and one from Pyasina VIII. Noteworthy finds 
from Pyasina VIII include fragments of the flat 
bottom of a thick-walled pot and a hair-tempered 
pot. In all likelihood this unique evidence of flat- 
bottomed pottery production on the Taymyr 
Peninsula is associated with the Pyasina and 
Malokorenninsk cultures. 

Finds from Malaya Korennaya I, Bolshaya 
Korennaya II, Pyasina IV and VIII are represented by 
surface material; in defining the Malokorenninsk 
complex, emphasis should be placed on finds 
from Cultural Layer II at Ust-Polovinka. That layer 
contained crucibles and molds similar to those 
of the Pyasina variety as well as scrapers, arrow- 
heads, and other stone artifacts similar to those 
from Pyasina dwellings, but of poorer workman- 
ship. However, there was an increasing number 
of quartzite and chert artifacts as well as pebble 
tools. The surface material from Ust-Polovinka 
includes large triangular straight- or concave-base 
arrowheads as well as some of the long, leaf- 
shaped, rounded-base kind (Fig. 1 06:1 5, 1 6). 

Tools of siliceous schist are in all probability 
attributable to the Malokorenninsk culture. The 
scrapers, the arrowhead with a straight shank 
(Fig. 1 37:3), and the borer (Fig. 1 37:5)— all made 
of the same material— found at Malaya Korennaya 
I together with some Malokorenninsk-type pottery 
probably belong to this complex. The polished 



]22/ Ceramics from various proveniences, Ust- 

124/ Ceramics from various proveniences, Ust- 

— I 

— 7^ 

' 1 
>' I 

] 23/ Map of Inearths in tine upper layer of Excava- 
tion Area II, Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = Hearth no. 
1,2 = Hearth no. 2; 3 = Hearth no. 3; 4 = rocks; 5 
= sherds: 6 = crucible fragments. 



125/ Ceramics from various proveniences, Ust- 


1 26/ Ceramics from various proveniences, Ust- 

^^ n 2-1 bi 





I A 

C A 


Ck T 

\ HC 


A 1 
A 1 

A 1 

A^ 1 r 1 

■ 1 1 \ 

«A ■ 

Aa ^< ' ■ ^ 

1 1^1 

1 \ ° 1 

1 Hearth \ S 1 
1 #2 

^^^^^ 1 1 








« HC 

■ ^ 

1 £> 

4- t / -4 H- 7 3k- 10 - 13 Im 

I I 

A-2 C-5 • - & T il - 14 

• - 3 HC - 6 Ck - 9 - 1 2 

/27/ Mop of Cultural Layer I In Excavation Area 
I, Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = flakes; 2 = bowl and 
crucible fragments; 3 = ceramics; 4 = blades; 5 = 
scrapers; 6 = arrowheads; 7 = knives; 8 = bronze 
droplets; 9 = side scrapers; 10 = fragments; 1 I = 
whetstones; 12 = bones; 13 = hearth no. 1; 14 = 
hearth no. 2. 

1 28/ Lithics from Cultural Layers II and II A, Excava- 
tion Area I, Ust-Polovlnka. 

1 29/ Lithics from Cultural Layer II, Excavation Area 
I, Ust-Polovinka. 


« i 

I I I 

1 30/ The Iron knife from Excavation Area I, Ust- 
Polovlnka; 10.2 centimeters long. 

1 36 



C3 -3 

/ 31 / Map of the hearths of Layer II in Excavation 
Area III, Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = outline of 
hearths; 2 = ceramics; 3 = rocks. 

arrowhead fragment (Fig. 137:6) found at Malaya 
Korennaya III— the only one known from the Taymyr 
Peninsula— is probably another specimen of the 
Malokorenninsk culture. Similar arrowheads occur 
in northern West Siberia together with Late Bronze 
or Early Iron Age pottery. Pitch remained in use for 
daubing seams of birch-bark articles. 

The stone inventory as a whole differs little from 
the Pyasina toolkit, which indicates that Pyasina 
traditions were preserved. Such traditions are also 
traceable in Malokorenninsk pottery. This pottery is 
distinguished from Pyasina ware by a greater num- 
ber of ridges, carelessly applied ornamentation, the 
declining importance of comb impressions, smooth 
walls with no evidence of paddling, and the use of 
coarse sand and almost no hair temper. Pits become 
more prominent in the decorative composition. 

in general, the Malokorenninsk complex may be 
regarded as the final stage in the evolution of the 
Pyasina culture. However, if we attach great impor- 
tance to pottery and to the changes that are taking 

place in this field, and consider the appearance of 
forged metal objects, the complex may be identified 
as a distinctive tradition that succeeded the Pyasina 
culture. Its chronological framework is bounded by 
the dates 2 1 00 ± 50 and 1 660 ± 1 80 B.P., i.e., from 
the second century B.C. to the third century A.D. 

Distinguishing between the Pyasina and 
Malokorenninsk cultures is of great importance for 
determining the age of sites in the Yenisey region 
of the taiga zone and establishing the place of these 
sites relative to surrounding cultures. One of these 
sites is the settlement near the village of Makovskoye 
on the Kheta River. Excavations here revealed pot- 
tery dating to the Neolithic or the Early Bronze Age, 
including vessels decorated with one or two ridges, 
rows of pits and pit-like depressions, and notched 
stick imprints (Nikolaev 1963a:53, fig. 7:1-3). The 
vessels, very similar to Pyasina and Malokorenninsk 
pots, are presumably contemporaneous with those 
cultures and date from the second half of the first 
millennium B.C. to the first centuries A.D. 

Another site with pottery that appears to be 
closely related to the Pyasina and Malokorenninsk 
traditions is a burial ground near the Podkamennaya 
Tunguska village. A small pot from the cemetery is 
decorated with an incised ridge, three rows of small 
oval pits, and comb lines engraved with a serrated 
wheel (Andreev 1 971 :fig. 1 5:2). The vessel was dated 
by G. I. Andreev to the middle or second half of the 
first millennium B.C. Based on that find, Andreev 
hypothesized that an independent taiga-zone culture 
would be identified at some future date. 

The similarity of materials discovered on the 
Pyasina, the Kheta, and Podkamennaya Tunguska 
suggests the existence in the second half of the first 
millennium B.C. in the tundra and forest regions of 
the Yenisey region of a group of sites distinguished by 
common principles of pottery decoration. As the num- 
ber of newly discovered sites increases, other tradi- 
tions comparable to the Pyasina and Malokorenninsk 
cultures will be defined, and one of those might be 
found in Evenkia, as Andreev has suggested. 


The Influence of East Siberian Traditions 

The evolution of the material culture of the Pyasina 
River sites, such as FVasina IV-A, and sites of the 
Pyasina and Malokorenninsk cultures, was based on 
the fusion of West Siberian traditions with those of 
the Ymiyakhtakh culture. Such sites have not been 
found in any other areas of the Taymyr Peninsula. 
Also of interest is the Ymiyakhtakh group, which 






A/' . 1 
,A / ' . ■' A 1 
/ 1 " ^ ^ X 
^l'' ^A 4 



1 ' - 4 
■2 HC - 5 

■ 3 (/.-^-e 

/ 32/ Map of Cultural Layer II in Excavation Area IV, 
Ust-Polovinka. Legend: I = flakes; 2 = ceramics; 3 
= crucible fragments; 4 = blades; 5 = arrowheads; 
6 = artifact concentrations. 

133/ Ceramics from. Malaya Korennaya I (nos. I, 5- 
(2-4, 9, 12); Bolshaya Korennaya II (I 1). 

established no assimilative contacts with the ancient 
West Taymyr population and continued to develop 
its own cultural traditions. 

Evolution of Ymiyakhtakh traditions is illustrated 
to some extent by a group of sites discovered on the 
Pyasina River and identified as a specific tradition 
named Ust-Cherninsk. The following occupation sites 
are associated with the Ust-Cherninsk culture: Ust- 
Chernaya I, Chernaya I, II and III, Pyasina IV, Bolshaya 
Korennaya II, and Lantoshka I. Unfortunately, all of 
these sites lack stratigraphy. However, the distinc- 
tive pottery of the Ust-Cherninsk tradition provides 
the means to determine the place of that tradition 
among other cultures of the Taymyr Peninsula and 
to identify typologically the Ust-Cherninsk materials 
that come from various sites. 

Pottery of the Ust-Cherninsk culture (Fig. 1 39:1 , 
2, 4, 7-9) is represented by fragments of vessels con- 
taining hair temper. The vessels are sub-conical (or 
oval), i.e., round-bottomed and straight-walled with 
a rim diameter smaller than the greatest diameter of 
the body. Rims were either rounded or flat. In some 
cases the smoothed surfaces of the pots preserved 
traces of paddling in the form of diamond-shaped 
impressions with large cells. Some of the fragments 
had impressions under the spall- 
. ^ ing surface layer. The vessels 

' are distinguished by thin walls, 

with fragments usually 3 to 5 
millimeters or occasionally 6 to 
9 millimeters thick. The typical 
decoration is a narrow (3 to 4 
millimeters wide at the base) 
sharp-edged ridge that is trian- 
gular in cross-section and gener- 
ally placed about one centimeter 
below the rim. Occasionally, 
there is a row of small, deep pits 
under the ridge that resulted in 
bosses on the internal surface. 
8, 10); Pyasina IV Fragments of at least nine pots 
of this type were found at Pyasina 


IV, some decorated; instead of pits, they had one 
or more bands of pearl-sized bosses resulting from 
similar pits made inside the vessel (Fig. 1 39:9). 

From the same site are fragments of a small 
decorated pot (rim diameter of about 1 2 centimeters) 
with a ridge, a band of pits, a row of slanting crosses 
engraved in the wet clay, and zoomorphic images 
(Figs. 1 40, 141). Fragmentary representations of two 
zoomorphs (Fig. 141) display cigar-shaped bodies 
with short parallel lines grouped in pairs that form 
an acute angle with the body. At the end of one of 
the depictions, two lines diverge to form an angle, 
and a single line is drawn at the end of the other 
representation. In all likelihood, the motifs repre- 
sent fish. 

Other aspects of the Ust-Cherninsk culture can be 
described on the basis of the few finds from sites at 
the mouth of the Chernaya River and from Lantoshka 
I. At FVasina IV and Bolshaya Korennaya II, different 
cultural complexes are mixed together and it is dif- 
ficult to establish a relationship between a specific 
type of pottery and other artifacts. The scarcity and 
uniformity of the finds attest to single component, 
short occupations. In addition to pottery, the finds 
from Lantoshka I comprise three chalcedony sub-tri- 
angular scrapers, three jasper and eight chert flakes, 
four chalcedony flakes and blades; materials from 
Ust-Chernaya I consisted of one scraper (Fig. 133:14) 
and eight jasper flakes and blades; the collection 
from Ust-Chernaya II included seven jasper flakes and 
blades; and from Chernaya I, one jasper flake and a 
piece of chalcedony. More finds were collected at 
Chernaya III: sixty-nine mostly small flakes, seventeen 
blades and flakes, a large blade with retouch on two 
sides, three scrapers (Fig. 1 42:5, 8, 1 1 ) and two mold 
fragments. The stone implements were of chalcedony 
and jasper as well as other kinds of flint. The jasper 
and chalcedony artifacts from Chernaya II comprised 
thirty-two flakes and blades, four blades, a chalced- 
ony core, two flakes with retouch, two scrapers (Fig. 
1 41 :4, 6) and four arrowheads (Fig. 1 42:2, 24-26). A 
mold fragment was also found at the site. 

Thus, the Ust-Cherninsk sites are characterized by 
tools and blades of jasper and chalcedony and by the 
absence of artifacts of quartzite and dark-gray chert 
that are typical of the later Taymyr sites. The existence 
of bronze casting is evidenced by the molds found at 
the sites. The single ridge on vessels is reminiscent 
of FVasina pottery. A rim fragment with a typically 
Ust-Cherninsk shape found at Bolshaya Korennaya 
had coarse-grained sand temper characteristic of 
the pottery of the Pyasina and Malokorenninsk cul- 
tures. That find is proof of the parallel existence of 
the latter cultures and the Ust-Cherninsk tradition. 
However, taking into account its main distinctive 
features— hair temper, manufacturing technique 
and poor ornamentation— the Ust-Cherninsk pottery 
more closely resembles Ymiyakhtakh ware. This is 
also true of the material and form of Ust-Cherninsk 
stone tools. The molds, however, are similar to the 
Pyasina, rather than Ymiyakhtakh, type. 

This evidence suggests that the Ust-Cherninsk 
culture was the successor to the Ymiyakhtakh tra- 
dition and was contemporaneous with the Pyasina 
culture, dating to the second half of the first millen- 
nium B.C. This conclusion can also be drawn from 
comparison of Ust-Cherninsk material with that of 
other cultural complexes that are similar to East 
Siberian sites of the Iron Age. 

The possibility that the Ust-Cherninsk culture 
spread to eastern Taymyr can be inferred from frag- 
ments of a pot, comparable to Ust-Cherninsk vessels, 
that was found at Boyarka I. The site, mentioned 
in Chapter 2, is located on the right bank of the 
Kheta River upstream from the Boyarka River near 
the deserted settlement of the same name. The pot 
(Fig. 145:7) had a closed shape, a flat rim, and a 
smooth surface, and was decorated with a ridge one 
centimeter below the rim and with a band of small 
pits beneath it. The pits were made with a square 
stick. The clay contained a large amount of fine hair 
temper. The sherds, about 6 millimeters thick, have 
a lamellar structure; the lack of waffle impressions 
distinguishes them from Ust-Cherninsk potter/. 



1 36/ Lithics from: Malaya Korennaya I (nos. 1-12, 17); Malaya Korennaya II (13); Malaya Korennaya III 
(14, 15, 18, 19); Malaya Korennaya IV (1 6). 

In addition to Ust-Cherninsk ware, three more 
types of Iron Age pottery may be identified that dis- 
play East Siberian technology and design. Tagenar 
pottery is represented by pots found at Tagenar 
11-2 and Abylaakh IV on the Kheta River. The thin- 
walled (2 to 3 mm thick) vessels with concave necks 
were presumably round. The clay contained a small 
amount of sand temper. The upper, decorated part of 
the vessels was smooth; the lower portion preserved 
distinct diamond-shaped waffle impressions. The 
pot from Abylaakh IV (Fig. 143) had a rim diameter 
of 1 7 centimeters and a body diameter of 22 centi- 
meters. The rim thickened to 6 centimeters and was 
flat; its edge was decorated with shallow incisions. 
The decoration on the neck of the vessel comprised 
engraved lines and smooth-stamp impressions 
applied, most likely, with the butt-end of a flat stick. 
The impressions form seven groups of vertical zigzag 

lines. The spaces between the groups are filled with 
horizontal lines. 

The decoration on the neck of the pot from 
Tagenar 11-2, consisting of horizontal pricked lines 
made with the end of an inclined stick, resembles a 
linear-prick ornament (Fig. 1 44:2). The amount of tilt 
alternated with every other row so that the vertical 
alignment of pricks resembles zigzags. Other materi- 
als collected at the site in addition to sherds included 
crude flakes of black chert, flaked quartzite pebbles, 
and a quartzite core flaked on one side. A large 
pebble scraper had a retouched edge (Fig. 147:5). 
Attributable to the same complex as the waffle pot- 
tery of Abylaakh IV is a large slab for grinding metal 
objects mentioned in Chapter 2. 

Boyarka II pottery has been distinguished based 
on material from a single site— Boyarka ll~discov- 
ered on the bank of a brook discharging into the 



] 37/ Lithics from: Malaya Korennaya I (nos. 1-5, 8); Malaya Korennaya III 
(6, 7): Malaya Korennaya II (9). 

1 39/ Iron Age ceramics from: Pyasina IV (nos. 1 , 2, 5, 7, 9): Bolshaya 
Korennaya II (4); Pyasina III (6, 10, 1 1); Kheta I (8); Avgustovskaya II (12). 

Kheta River upstream from the Boyarka settlement, 
1 00 meters from the mouth of the brook. Exposed 
at a depth of 8 to 1 6 centimeters in a test pit on the 
edge of the eroding bank was Hearth 1 in the upper 
cultural layer. This feature was an area of burned 
sand with small pieces of charcoal about 80 centi- 
meters in diameter. The humus-charcoal band at a 

/ 38/ Slate tools from Ma- 
laya Korennaya I (nos. I , 
3) and Malaya Korennaya 
IV (2): a whetstone from 
Malaya Korennaya II (4). 

depth of 35 to 36 centimeters 
in Cultural Layer II was found to 
contain jasper and chert blades 
as well as flakes of chalcedony 
and other kinds of flint. Hearth 
1 contained fire-cracked stones, 
charred reindeer bones, pieces 
of burned clay— one of which 
had engraved lines in an uniden- 
tified pattern (Fig. 1 44:1 1 ) and 
fragments of three or four ves- 
sels. One small pot with a rim 
diameter of about 8 centimeters 
had a slightly curved rim with 
incisions. It was decorated with bands of obliquely 
placed linear stamp impressions alternating with 
rows of small, round pits (Fig. 1 44:8, 1 2). Two other 
pots had smooth walls and were decorated with 
incised ridges and rows of round pits (Fig. 1 45:4-6). 
Though the pits are shallow, the internal surface of 
the thin (3 to 4 mm thick) vessel walls had bosses. 



The ridge of one of the pots was incised, presumably, 
with fingernail impressions; that of the other was 
comb-stamped. There were some fragments with flat- 
tened bottoms and others with slightly curved rims 
with incisions on the edge and finger impressions on 
the surface. No distinct temper was noted. 

Ust-Polovinka-type pottery, discovered at Kheta I 
on the Kheta River, Avgustovskaya on the Dudypta 
River, and Pyasina I and Ust-Polovinka on the Pyasina 
River, is dated based on material from Cultural Layer 
I of the Ust-Polovinka settlement. All the material is 
associated with the gray humic sand of a buried soil 
surface with Cultural Layer I of Excavation Area I 
located at the top of the soil with corresponding 
layers of Areas II and III at its base. 

Cultural Layer I in Excavation Area I of Ust- 
Polovinka contained Hearth 2, which was oval in 
shape and measured 0.4 by 0.5 meters (Fig. 127). 
The hearth occupied a depression and its edges rose 
above its center. This happens when a fire is made 
on frozen ground. In cross-section, the hearth can 
be described in this way: its base was a reddish band 
of sand mixed with charcoal 1 to 1.5 centimeters 
thick covered with a whitish ash layer containing 
numerous bones of small fish. On top of this layer 
was another charcoal lens. The deposits in the center 
were 8 centimeters thick. The hearth was partially 
distorted by a frost-crack. 

The charcoal layer of the hearth contained frag- 
ments of a small pot (rim diameter about 1 1 centi- 
meters) with a distinct neck ending in a flat rim, a 
rounded body, a flattened bottom and smooth, very 
thin (2 mm) walls. One centimeter below the rim was 
a row of small (1 mm diameter) round holes. Large 
grains of sand could be seen in the porous structure 
of the sherds. 

Cultural Layer I of Excavation Area I! (Fig. 123) 
at Ust-Polovinka was also found to contain a hearth. 
This feature was sub-rectangular, slightly elongated 
in a north-south direction, measuring 0.7 by 0.8 
meters, with a charcoal layer 3 to 5 centimeters thick 
in the center. The northeastern section of the hearth 

was the area most densely packed with charcoal. 
Radiocarbon analysis of the charcoal dated the hearth 
to 920 ± 1 00 B.P. (LE 1 1 48), i.e., to the tenth through 
twelfth century A.D. The hearth contained small fish 
bones, a quartzite flake, and a fragment of a thin 
(3 mm) body sherd (Fig. 1 46:2) with a very smooth 
surface. The ridge on the fragment is triangular 
in cross-section. The fracture shows characteristic 
lamellar structure and slight porosity. 

Cultural Layer I of Excavation Areas III and IV at 
Ust-Polovinka was delimited by a brownish humic 
lens of sand with charcoal inclusions. Heath 1 A and 
stones were exposed in Excavation Area III. No arti- 
facts were found in these layers. 

Among the material from the disturbed layers of 
Ust-Polovinka were fragments of two more vessels 
that can be typologically associated with finds from 
Layer II. A fragment of a thin (3.5 mm) vessel wall 
with three densely placed thin ridges with triangular 
cross-sections (Fig. 122:6) was found in Excavation 
Area II, near an outlier. An accumulation of sherds 
from a large pot (rim diameter of 21 cm) with a 
protuberant body, a narrowed neck and an everted 
rim (Fig. 1 46: 1 ) was exposed in Plot 9. The rim edge 
has incisions, and the neck is decorated with four 
thin ridges that are triangular in cross-section. This 
thin-walled (3 to 4 mm) pot with a smooth surface, 
lamellar structure, slight porosity, and no noticeable 
temper corresponds to ceramics from Layer I. 

At Pyasina I, almost immediately under the turf 
is a humic-charcoal band from which presumably 
came the small fragments of gray, thin-walled (2 to 
3 mm) pottery found in a blowout. Thin triangular 
ridges or traces of ridges were preserved on some 
of the fragments. Noteworthy are the fragments 
of two pots with concave necks, slightly bulging 
bodies and smooth walls, possibly sand tempered. 
One of the vessels had a thin rim with a diameter 
of 1 2 to 13 centimeters and was decorated on its 
outer edge. The neck was ornamented with sev- 
eral obliquely indented ridges. The other pot was 
similarly decorated with ridges. Associated with 



the sherds were two small pieces of broken iron 
objects and a thin rock with traces of abrasive use- 
wear on one side. 

Fragments of two thin-walled pots with slightly 
curved rims and narrowed necks decorated with 
several thin triangular ridges were found at Kheta 
I and Avgustovskaya II (Fig. 1 39;8, 12). At Kheta I, 
the sherds were accompanied by reindeer bones; at 
Avgustovskaya II, where the artifacts were situated 
on wind-eroded spots, next to the fragments lay a 
scraper made from a large chert pebble (Fig. 1 48:1 ). 
The two sides of the convex working edge of the tool 
were retouched. Similar scrapers were found at later 
aceramic dwelling sites discussed below. 

A distinctive thin-ridged ceramic variant is rep- 
resented by materials from Pyasina III (Figs. 139:6, 
10, 11; 145:2). Small fragments of at least seven 
vessels were collected in the upper part of the spit. 
The vessels had smooth, thin walls (1.5 to 2 mm) 
that thickened at the rim edge occasionally to 5 to 6 
millimeters. Apparently, the vessels were sand tem- 
pered. A distinguishing feature of the fragments was 
high porosity. The vessels had a closed sub-conical 
shape that distinguished them from Ust-Polovinka 
ware and, judging by some fragments, they also 
had flattened bottoms. Four of the pots had walls 
terminating in a flat rim. The thickened rim of the 
other three vessels was slightly everted. The rim of 
the former pots had a shallow groove, occasionally 
with incisions across or at an angle to it. Only one 
vessel of that variety had no groove, and the upper 
and outer edges of its rim were decorated with angled 
incisions. The everted rims were thickened, and due 
to small oblique incisions or deep indentations, had 
serrated edges. It is likely that the original grooved 
rim variant was later modified by thickening the rim 
and slightly everting it. 

The pots are decorated in the upper part with 
triangular ridges and encircling rows of small round 
pits. Occasionally, the ridges are adjacent to one 
another, as on the sherd from Excavation Area II at 
Ust-Polovinka. As a rule, the pit band was placed 

140/ Ust-Cherninsk-type ceramics from Pyasina 

1 41 / Engraved sherds of Ust-Cherninsk-type vessels 
from Pyasina IV. 

under the upper two ridges. The walls were so thin 
that the making of the pits caused bosses on the 
internal wall surface. One pot had a hole drilled under 
the ridge. Lying in a blowout together with the pot 
sherds were crude quartzite flakes, a crude, heavy 
scraper of gray-green chert, and a quartzite pebble 
scraper with the working edge showing extreme use- 
wear (Fig. 75:6, 1 6). 

Similar vessels were found at excavations at 
Boyarka I and Maimeche II on the Kheta River and 
Pyasina IX on the Pyasina River. Exposed in a test 
pit that extended four meters from the principal 
excavation area of Boyarka I was a fragment of a 
sub-conical pot with a straight upper part, smooth, 
thin (3 to 4 mm) walls, and a slightly thickened rim 
about 20 centimeters in diameter. The ornamenta- 



tion of the vessels confirms the observations based 
on the ceramics from Pyasina III: originally a groove 
with transverse incisions was made on the rim top, 
which was afterwards filled with clay and decorated 
with shallow incisions. The upper part of the pot 
was decorated with at least eight thin triangular 
ridges spaced about one centimeter apart. The clay 
was sand-tempered. In a test pit at Maimeche II, an 
accumulation of fragments of a small sub-conical pot 
(height 1 3.5 cm, rim diameter 1 cm) was found. The 
pot had a flattened bottom and an undecorated rim. 
Traces of seven thin ridges remained in the upper 
part of the vessel. 

The principal distinctive features of the ceramics 
in question (identified here as the Boyarka I type) are 
the sub-conical shape and a peculiarly fashioned rim. 
The Boyarka I type is comparable both to the Ust- 
Polovinkatype (due primarily to unincised ridges) and 

to the Boyarka II variety (due to incised ridges, pit 
ornamentation and sub-conical shape). Comparison 
shows that Boyarka I occupies an intermediate 
position between the Boyarka II and Ust-Polovinka 
types. This phenomenon may be accounted for by 
temporal differences as well as by the fact that the 
latter two types belong to different cultural groups 
of the Taymyr population. It seems that both ethnic 
integration and cultural evolution were at work. The 
chronological factor, however, was of greater impor- 
tance in establishing the place of Boyarka ceramics 
among other comparable types. This assumption is 
based on the investigation of the pottery complexes 
together with the data on the Early Metal Period in 
the contiguous territories, Yakutia in particular. To 
begin with, an attempt will be made to define the 
relationship between the complexes, using only the 
material from the Taymyr Peninsula. 

* - . m 











3 cm 

1 42/ Lithics from: Pyasina XVII (nos. 1,3, 12, 15-23, 28); Chertiaya II (2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 24-26); Cher nay a 
III (5, 8, 1 1); Popova (13); Ust-Chernaya I (14); and a sherd from Ust-Chernaya I (27). 



1 43/ Refitted rim of a Tagenar-type vessel from 
Abyiaakh IV. 

1 44/ Sherds from Malaya Korennaya I (nos. 1 , 5): 
Tagenar II, Excavation Area 2 (2); Pyasina IV (3, 1 0): 
Pyasina III (4); Boyarka II (6, 8, I 1 , 1 2): Volochanka 
I (7): Bolshaya Korennaya II (9). 

1 45/ Sherds from: Boyarka I (nos. 1 , 3, 7); Boyarka 
II (4-6); Pyasina III (2). 

The earliest of the Iron Age pottery types mani- 
festing East Siberian traditions is the Ust-Cherninsk 
type, which preserves the use of hair temper and 
waffle ornamentation. It is distinguished from the 
Ymiyakhtakh ceramics of the Bronze Age primarily 
in its thin rim. The accompanying inventory (stone 
artifacts and Pyasina-type molds) suggests that the 
Ust-Cherninsk culture dates to the second half of 
the first millennium B.C. and, possibly, to the first 
centuries A.D. 

Tagenar ware also has diamond-shaped waffle 
ornamentation and sand temper. The ornamentation 
of the narrow necks of the vessels could be due to 
the influence of the FVasina culture, were it not for 
the similarly shaped and decorated pots that occur 
widely in the forest zone of East Siberia. No molds 
were found in association with Tagenar-type pottery 
which, coupled with the coarsely made quartzite 
tools, proves that the vessels belong to the period 
when iron artifacts had already achieved prominence. 
Tagenar ware should be regarded as of later origin 
than the Ust-Cherninsk type. It came into existence 
underthe influence of cultures in the territories con- 
tiguous to the Taymyr Peninsula or was introduced by 
migrants from Evenkia or Yakutia. The same may be 
said about ceramics from Boyarka II, while acknowl- 
edging a resemblance to [ceramics from] Iron Age 
sites of Yakutia. The Boyarka I type, which is similar 
to the Ust-Polovinka type dated to the tenth through 
twelfth centuries A.D., is either contemporaneous 
with the latter or antedates it, and thus probably 
dates to ca. A.D. 500 to 1 200. We shall now attempt 
to compare these types with material from territories 
lying farther south. 

Identification of pottery from the Metal Period in 
Yakutia begun by A. P. Okladnikovd 943, 1945, 1946, 
1950b, 1955b) was continued by S.A. Fedoseeva 
(1968, 1970a, b, c, d, 1974) and I.V. Konstantinov 
(1978), whose investigations provided insight into 
the evolution of cultures of Yakutia in the Bronze 
and Iron Ages. Based on finds from the stratified 
settlements Belkachi I (Layer II), Sumnagin I (Layers 



Ill and IV), and Ust-Mil I (Layer II) on the Aldan River, 
Fedoseeva identified the Ust-Mil culture of the Bronze 
Age, radiocarbon dated to 1000-500 B.C. 

Two types of ceramics are characteristic of the 
Ust-Mil culture. One of these is represented by thin- 
walled (1 to 4 mm) pots with rounded bodies, narrow 
necks and straight rims. The smooth surfaces of the 
vessels are decorated with rows of incised ridges. 
The other type comprises round-bottomed pots with 
walls 4 to 7 millimeters thick and decorated with inci- 
sions on the rim, a single row of round perforations 
beneath the rim, and thin, unincised ridges. Sand 
temper was used in both types of vessels. 

Based on the decorative ornament and certain 
types of stone tools, some archaeologists asso- 
ciate the origins of the Ust-Mil culture with the 
Ymiyakhtakh tradition, assuming that it developed in 
the Middle Lena basin under the influence of a new 

1 46/ Ceramics from Ust~Polovinka (nos. 1 , 2) and 
Pyasma IX (3). 

ethnic group that came there from the Baikal and 
Trans-Baikal regions and assimilated the aboriginal 
Ymiyakhtakh population. Fedoseeva also points to 
the close resemblance of the decorative style of the 
thin-walled vessels to the incised ridge ornamentation 
of the pottery of the Uril culture that was in existence 
during the eleventh and twelfth centuries B.C. in the 
Lower and Middle Amur regions. Fedoseeva (1 968, 
1 970d) dates the thin-walled pots with narrow necks 
and slightly bent rims and decorated with incised or 
smooth ridges to the Bronze Age in the Vilyui Basin. 
Comparing such vessels with the Aldan ceramics, 
she concludes that the Vilyui was within the sphere 
of a single Lena Basin Bronze Age culture. However, 
the available specimens of Bronze Age pottery from 
the Aldan and the Vilyui are dissimilar enough to be 
ascribed to different cultures. Therefore, another 
view expressed by Fedoseeva in the same publication 

147/ Bronze artifact (no. 2) from Dudypta XIV; 
lithic artifacts from: Avgustovsi<aya I (1 ): Staroye 
Barkhatovo II (3, 4); Tagenar II, Excavation Area 
2 (5): Dudypta VIII (6): Avgustovskaya III (7): and 
Dudypta VI (8). 



(1970c) appears more tenable. According to that 
view, the sole culture prevailing throughout the 
entire Vilyui Valley had much in common with that 
of the Lena Basin. 

The Iron Age in Yakutia dates from about 2000 
to 500 B.P., or from the last centuries of the first mil- 
lennium B.C. to the fifth century A.D. (Konstantinov 
1978; Mochanov and Fedoseeva 1975a). Several 
types of ceramics discussed by Okladnikov date to 
this period. I.V. Konstantinov distinguishes three of 
them: the Dyuktaisko-Belkachinsk, the Sumnagin, 
and the Ust-Mil types. These terms are not appropri- 
ate because they correspond to the names of cultures 
already identified in the territory of Yakutia. For this 
reason it is preferable to use Okladnikov's proposed 

The Sangar (Dyuktaisko-Belkachinsk in 
Konstantinov's terminology) type is represented by 
round-bottomed, thin-walled pots with a more or less 
distinct neck and smooth surface with ribbed (more 
rarely diamond-shaped waffle) paddle impressions. 
The upper third of the vessels was ornamented 
with horizontal rows of obliquely placed comb- 
stamp impressions. Occasionally, the vessels were 
decorated with thick, encircling ridges also bearing 
comb-stamp impressions (Okladnikov 1945:table 
VIII). In some cases the impressions were made at 
an angle to the surface. Sand and fine gravel were 
used as temper. Such ware was found at sites on 
the Lower and Middle Lena (the Sangar-Khaya area. 
Lake Syalakh, Kullaty, Pokrovsk, and the Regional 
Hospital in Yakutsk) and on the Aldan (Belkachi I and 
Dyuktai Cave). 

The Chebedal (Sumnagin, according to 
Konstantinov) type is characterized by very thin- 
walled pots with round bottoms and necks differing 
in the extent of curvature. These vessels have a 
smooth or finely ribbed surface. The temper, if any, 
consists of sand. The edges of the rim and the neck 
are decorated with encircling rows of thin triangular 
ridges, smooth or incised, resembling a cord. This 
type of pottery was found at a number of dwelling 

sites in the Lena Basin, such as Siktyakh, Mukhtui, 
Chokurovka, Beris, Kestrimryungki, Kylarsall, Kullaty, 
Kapchagai, Tumul, Ust-Chona II, Sumnagin I and 
others. Conceivably, the type may include pots with 
vertical or oblique ridges placed as links between 
horizontal ridges. Two variants may be distinguished 
in Chebedal: one with thin, smooth or cord-like ridges 
and the other with thicker incised ridges. 

The Siktyakh (Ust-Mil, according to Konstantinov's 
classification) type comprises thin-walled, round- 
bottomed pots, sub-conical or with a distinct neck. 
The vessels have a smooth surface or, less frequently, 
are decorated with ribbed impressions. The ornamen- 
tation consists of rows of round or oval pits, cater- 
pillar-shaped stamp impressions and indentations 
of other shapes. This type of ceramics also occurs 
commonly in Yakutia and was encountered at Stary 
Siktyakh, Kullaty, Ust-Mil, and Belkachi I. There are 
also vessels combining ornamental features peculiar 
to different types. For instance, from the sites of Stary 
Siktyakh, Kapchagai, and Mukhtui come some pots 
that, in addition to thin ridges, are decorated with 
rows of oval indentations (Okladnikov 1943:fig. 12; 
1945:table I; 1 946:table XVII). Such ceramics attest 
to the coexistence of the types under review. 

Okladnikov assigned the Sangar type to the Late 
Bronze-Early Iron Age. Pottery with incised ridges 
from sites such as Mukhtui and Stary Siktyakh was 
regarded as typical of the Early Iron Age and dated 
to the sixth through eighth century, whereas settle- 
ments with vessels decorated with smooth ridges 
were associated with the final stage of the Early iron 

According to Okladnikov, the next stage, which 
lasted until the fifteenth or sixteenth century, was 
characterized by pottery of the so-called "small dwell- 
ing" culture. Some pots of that tradition had thicker 
walls than the earlier types, but on the whole, the 
"small dwelling" type ceramics were thin walled. The 
vessels had a smooth surface. Sand, gravel, and pos- 
sibly crushed slate were used as tempering agents. 
Reconstruction indicates that the vessels were of a 



closed spherical or mitre-like shape. Ornamentation 
consisted of one or several sharp ribbed ridges. 
Okladnikov regarded the types of pottery as indica- 
tors of periods or stages in the evolution of the Early 
Iron Age culture. 

Elaborating upon Fedoseeva's ideas, Konstantinov 
proposed that the pottery complexes "differed in ori- 
gin, both genetically and chronologically" (1 978:59). 
The author dated the Dyuktai complex to the bound- 
ary between the eleventh and twelfth centuries A.D. 
and the initial stage of Ust-Mil from the third through 
first century B.C. Assuming that Sumnagin-type pot- 
tery developed from the preceding Bronze Age (Ust- 
Mil) culture, Konstantinov concludes that the earliest 
date for this type was the end of the first millennium 
B.C. He considered the Dyuktai decorative style to be 
imitative in origin and that Ust-Mil combined local 
and alien elements. 

Another type of ware in Yakutia includes round- 
bottomed pots with rows of smooth, thin triangular 
ridges on an accentuated neck and diamond-shaped 
waffle impressions on the body. Such ceramics were 
found both in northern Yakutia on the Indigirka River 
(Lake Tatyanino) and farther south, on the Olekma 
River (the sites of Kurung and Bolshaya Kyuske). 
Konstantinov suggested (1978:60-62) that pottery 
with diamond-shaped impressions was of local origin 
and not associated with the waffle ceramics of the 
Ymiyakhtakh culture. 

I I I I 

148/ Sidescrapers from Avgustovskaya II (no. I) 
and Lyungfada I (2-4). 

Earlier, Fedoseeva(l 970a:31 2) reasoned that waf- 
fle pottery, originating at the end of the Late Neolithic 
(implying the Ymiyakhtakh culture), did not last until 
the Bronze Age. This is an erroneous conclusion as it 
implies that the Ymiyakhtakh community was totally 
replaced by the Ust-Mil population in Yakutia, which 
is improbable. Ymiyakhtakh descendants may have 
survived in some regions of Yakutia and, as is the case 
in Taymyr, adopted a new variant of waffle pottery, 
enriching its ornamentation under the influence of 
other traditions, including the Ust-Mil culture. 

Boyarka II and Siktyakh-type pottery share many 
common characteristics whereas the resemblance 
between the Tagenar and Sangar types is less distinct 
when Iron Age pottery from Taymyr is compared 
with the ware from Yakutia. Furthermore, the Sangar 
type resembles Pyasina pottery although it is devoid 
of widely spaced rows of pits characteristic of the 
Pyasina type. Certain conclusions can be drawn from 
these observations. One of the deductions is that 
Sangar pottery is an indicator of the Early Iron Age 
culture of Yakutia, which originated, like the Pyasina 
culture, in the influence and penetration of groups 
representing western cultural traditions. 

The appearance on the Yenisey and in the Baikal 
region of comb pottery as a result of western culture 
spreading to those territories has been consistently 
noted by many investigators (Burilov 1 975:85; 
Chernetsov 1 953a:55; Generalov 1 979a, b; Khiobystin 
1978b; Okladnikov 1948:20, 1957, 1958:21-22). 
Comb pottery on the Angara and Yenisey dates to a 
wide span of time— from the Early Neolithic to the 
Bronze Age. The earliest appearance of pots with vari- 
ous kinds of comb impressions, including oval comb 
imprints, was recorded at the stratified settlement 
of Kazachka on the Kan River, a right-bank tributary 
of the Yenisey (Generalov 1979a, b; Savel'ev et al. 
1 976). Pots with such ornaments were encountered 
in Layer VI, radiocarbon dated to 6660 ± 1 90 B.P. (LE 
1231), i.e., the first half of the fifth millennium B.C. 
Generalov's dating of that layer is from the second 
half of the fourth millennium B.C. to between the 



fourth and third millennia B.C. Such pottery may 
be called the West Angara type. Judging by its posi- 
tion in the stratified sites of Kazachka and Gorely 
Les (Savel'ev et al. 1 974), it should be dated to the 
mid-third millennium B.C. The overlying deposits of 
Kazachka contained ware with other types of comb 
designs, which attest to a long period of evolution of 
comb ornamental traditions that lasted until the Iron 
Age. Pottery with comb ornamentation has also been 
found in Evenkia at the Baikit I and Podkamennaya 
Tunguska sites (Andreev and Fomin 1 966). Differing 
somewhat from Angara comb wares, it may be dated 
to the Late Neolithic to Bronze Age. 

Thus, starting in the third millennium B.C., comb 
cultures of West Siberian origin were penetrating 
the territories already occupied by cultures of the 
East Siberian region. The evolution of the comb 
cultures over a long period of time while in contact 
with aboriginal East Siberian cultures resulted in the 
development in the Iron Age of cultures with the 
Pyasina, Sangar, and other similar types of pottery, 
the Tagenar type being a variant of the Sangar type. 
Another variant that originated in interaction with 
Ymiyakhtakh descendants is waffle pottery with 
comb designs found, as mentioned above, at the 
Dushkachan site on Lake Baikal. 

In the course of the Iron Age, groups using 
Sangar ceramics were penetrating eastern Yakutia 
and then Chukotka, where the Vakarevo culture has 
been identified— the ceramics are decorated with 
"an ornate design of rectangular stamp impressions" 
(Dikov 1979:231-237). 

Pottery complexes that originated in West Siberia 
were not ornamented with comb impressions to the 
exclusion of all other decoration; ornamentation also 
included pits. Just as the pit ornament was one of 
the principal features of the Pyasina culture, so were 
different variants of pit indentations characteristic 
of the Siktyakh type. However, that type apparently 
developed later than the Sangar tradition. 

Pottery with pit indentations was encountered 
both in the Angara region and in Evenkia. It is there- 

1 50 

fore difficult to establish now where the Siktyakh type 
originated. The type probably developed on the vast 
territory of the right-bank tributaries of the Yenisey. 
The Boyarka II type should be considered a variant of 
the Siktyakh type. In all likelihood, its occurrence in 
the eastern part of Taymyr points to the penetration 
of Siktyakh groups from the northeastern region of 
Evenkia or Northwest Yakutia. 

Yakut archaeologists argue that the Chebedal type 
is related to the pottery of the Ust-Mil culture. Since 
the Ust-Mil sites of the Aldan contained wares with 
both smooth and incised thin ridges, nearly all sites 
of Yakutia where such pottery was found were initially 
regarded as Ust-Mil (Fedoseeva 1970b: 130, 131). 
The Ust-Mil culture was associated with the arrival of 
a new ethnic group from the Baikal and Trans-Baikal 
regions that assimilated the aboriginal Ymiyakhtakh 
population (Fedoseeva 1 974:1 56). At the same time 
it was proposed that one pottery type (vessels with 
narrowed necks) reached the Lena Basin already in 
its final form (Fedoseeva 1970b:133, 1974:156). 
The appearance of the Ust-Mil culture in the Aldan 
region is dated to the early first millennium B.C. This 
proposal is contradicted by dates for Ust-Polovinka- 
type pottery, which is also smooth-surfaced, narrow- 
necked, and decorated with thin ridges. Moreover, 
similar vessels from the Baikal region, although not 
accurately dated, cannot be dated to the early first 
century B.C. An attempt to work out a typological 
classification of the ridged pottery of the Baikal region 
and to establish a chronology was undertaken by V.V. 
Svinin (1 966:59, 60; 1 970). The earliest type of Baikal 
pottery distinguished by Svinin was corded ware 
ornamented with ribbed ridges resembling bronze 
cauldrons or trays. He associated the pottery with 
the Late Bronze Age and dated it to the thirteenth 
through eighth century B.C. In his opinion, the lat- 
est form of corded-ware vessels was represented by 
pots with smooth "burnished" walls ornamented in 
the same style as earlier specimens. I believe such 
vessels were in existence in the Baikal region in the 
seventh through second century B.C. 


Such vessels may be imitations of bronze caul- 
drons, but the earliest bronze specimens are dated 
to the eighth century B.C. (Chlenova 1 967:92-1 09), 
which is in conflict with the chronology proposed 
by Svinin. Appearance of these vessels in the Baikal 
region should probably be dated to the seventh 
through sixth century B.C. and accounted for by the 
influence of the Trans-Baikal grave culture (Khiobystin 
1964b:13, 14). The ridged pottery chronology 
of the Baikal and Angara regions needs further 

Consequently, caution should be used in 
approaching the problem of the origin of the Ust-Mil 
culture. The Ust-Mil tradition may have diverged from 
the complex of cultures prevailing in East Siberia in 
the first half of the first millennium B.C. However, the 
possibility of influence from the Amur area, another 
region of developing ridged pottery cultures, should 
not be overlooked. There is no doubt that pottery 
similar to Ust-Mil ware was still in existence in the 
first millennium A.D. In fact, I.V. Konovalov dated a 
number of the sites to the Iron Age that Fedoseeva 
had associated with the Bronze Age. 

Ridge-decorated pottery encountered in the 
Baikal region and the Angara Basin is quite diverse, 
and some ridge-decorated types have never been 
discovered in Yakutia or on the Taymyr Peninsula. 
One of the pottery types characteristic of Southeast 
Siberia has thin wavy ridges and is found on the 
Podkamennaya Tunguska River in southern Evenkia. 
Also encountered in Evenkia were fragments of ves- 
sels with thin smooth or incised ridges. Occasionally, 
thin smooth ridges occur on vessels decorated with 
small toothed stamp impressions (Andreev and 
Fomin 1 966:fig. 45). 

Pots with thin smooth and incised ridges from 
Evenkia, like those of the Ust-Mil tradition and the 
Chebedal type, are comparable with the Ust-Polovinka 
and Boyarka I types from Taymyr. Such pots may 
have developed on the peninsula under the influence 
of cultures prevailing both in Evenkia and Yakutia. 
Unfortunately, the unresolved chronological problem 

presented by Early Iron Age pottery precludes associ- 
ating them with material from Taymyr. Further inves- 
tigation of the Early Iron Age in East Siberia requires 
local typological studies of pottery and intraregional 
correlation of types, similar to the work accomplished 
for the Taymyr Peninsula, as a prerequisite to more 
general typological classification. 

Konstantinov (1 978:70, 71 , 84-86, 98) identified 
thin-ridged Yakut pottery as of local origin related 
to Ust-Mil ware and pottery decorated with various 
stamp impressions as patterned after specimens 
from the Middle and Lower Angara. In so doing, he 
associated the thin-ridged type with the Yukagir and 
Ust-Mil ware with expanding Tungus peoples. Hence, 
Ust-Mil was considered by Konstantinov to represent 
"ancestral Yukagir tribes." Fedoseeva, assuming that 
the Ust-Mil culture originated under the influence of 
a new ethnic group that came to the Lena from the 
Baikal and Trans-Baikal regions, noted the resem- 
blance between Ust-Mil pottery and that of the Uril 
culture, which dominated the Middle and Lower Amur 
regions from the eleventh through seventh century 
B.C. (Fedoseeva 1974:1 55-1 56). 

Pottery with incised ridges appeared in the south- 
east Trans-Baikal region in the Late Neolithic, in the 
Amogolon period, and persisted there through the 
Bronze Age (Okladnikov and Kirillov 1980:161, 166). 
Since the Tungus languages are part of the Tungus- 
Manchurian group of the Altai language family, their 
origin must have been in the southern Baikal and 
Trans-Baikal regions. The question remains as to 
whether the Yukagir language could also have arisen 
there. As Yukagir is closer to the Ural languages than 
to those of the Altai family, that possibility should 
be dismissed. Consequently, the idea that the Ust-Mil 
peoples belonged to a Yukagir-speaking ethnic group 
should also be dismissed. 

Konovalov is incorrect in relating pottery with 
"stamp impressions" to the Tungus. More likely, the 
dissemination of pit and comb decoration, "stamp 
impressions" being one variant, was associated with 
the spread of West Siberian decorative traditions 



which, in the first millennium A.D., could have been 
utilized by the ancient Yukagir. 

The people that created the Ust-Mil culture could 
have belonged to one of the ancient variants of the 
Tungus-Manchurian language group since Ust-Mil 
origins overlap with the territory where Tungus- 
Manchurian languages were developing. 

The early penetration of Tungus-speaking groups 
into Yakutia in the first millennium B.C. is consistent 
with the proposed origin of the Even and Evenk in 
the Trans-Baikal and Amur regions as a result of 
contacts between the aboriginal population and the 
Uvans in the second half of the first millennium A.D. 
(Tugolukov 1980:157-161); there could have been 
several stages in the northward migration of Tungus- 
speaking groups. 

According to Evenk legends, in establishing their 
settlements in East Siberia, the Evenk encountered 
aborigines speaking a language that they could 
understand (Tugolukov 1980:169). Although other 
ethnic groups have similar legends (e.g., Nenets tales 
about the Sikhirtya; Enets and Nganasan narratives 
about Syupsya) that can be treated as widespread 
linguistic folklore, Evenk legends may reflect actual 
meetings between the Evenk and some Tungus- 
speaking groups, descendants of the Ust-Mil popula- 
tion that had migrated to the north earlier. Behind the 
spread of thin-ridged pottery in East Siberia was the 
migration of ancient Tungus-speaking groups. 

Returning to the Iron Age in the Taymyr Peninsula^ 
some pottery probably dates to the period when pot- 
tery was going out of use in Siberian regions beyond 
the Arctic Circle. The absence of pottery that origi- 
nated after Ust-Polovinka ware suggests that in the 
thirteenth century pottery was no longer produced 
by the inhabitants of Taymyr. 

Populations of the taiga regions of East Siberia 
were also abandoning the production of pottery, 
probably due to the wider use of metal utensils 
and a less settled way of life that resulted from the 
development of reindeer herding. At the turn of the 
nineteenth century, only the Yakut continued to 

1 52 

make pottery. However, old Nganasan remember 
the times when clay vessels were used—saw nite, 
"clay cauldron" and moy nite, "earthern cauldron" in 

Evidence from dwelling sites consists of bones 
and charcoal lenses of hearths under the turf layer, 
which were encountered on the banks of large rivers 
sun/eyed by the Polar Expedition. Such sites are par- 
ticularly numerous on the right bank of the Khatanga 
River between the mouths of the Popigay and the 
Bludnaya, on the left bank of the Pyasina near the 
mouths of the Mokoritto and the Lyungfada, as well 
as on the left bank of the Tareya 1 .5 kilometers from 
its outlet into the Pyasina. Only in rare cases were 
any artifacts found at those sites among the bones 
of reindeer, geese, and large fish. 

Three scrapers (Fig. 148:2-4) made from large 
pebbles were found on the upper spit at the mouth 
of the Lyungfada under the turf at a depth of 1 cen- 
timeters next to a charcoal layer from a hearth. The 
convex edges of the tools had crude retouch, bifacial 
in one case. The scrapers are similar to those from 
Avgustovskaya II (Fig. 148:1), where Ust-Polovinka- 
type pottery was found, and to the scraper from 
Tagenar II (Fig. 147:5), exposed together with the 

Five fragments of similar scrapers (Fig. 149) 
lay in a pile on an eroded spot next to fire-cracked 
hearth stones at Dudypta XII; no other artifacts were 
associated. The scrapers were made from a plate of 
greenish chert by bilateral flaking of their edges. 
Such scrapers could be set into a two-handed haft 
similar to the baka-type scraper still used by the 
Nganasan. According to old Nganasan women, stone 
scrapers were produced until recently and were 
better for processing hides than iron tools because 
they did not cut the skin. Alexander F. Middendorf's 
observations from Taymyr (1869:543) indicate that 
the Avam Nganasan used stone scrapers until the 
mid-nineteenth century. 

K.M. Rychkovd 91 7:56-58), who worked in south- 
ern Turukhansk territory in the pre-revolutionary 


years, reported that he had seen stone implements 
in use among the northwestern group of Turukhansk 
Tungus as well as among Avam and Khatanga 
Samoyedic speakers. He gave a description of the 
tools he collected. However, Rychkov noted that 
"certain stone tools are sinking into oblivion and the 
Tungus ascribe to them supernatural origin; some 
are recognized as sacred and are kept as amulets." 
This observation suggests that the stone implements 
observed and collected by Rychkov were long out of 
use and were preserved as heirlooms or curios found 
at ancient dwelling sites. 

Judging by their occurrence with Iron Age pot- 
tery, pebble and chert scrapers came into use when 
other stone tools were no longer produced and the 
technology of making them had been lost. This 
phenomenon is also apparent from archaeological 
material from West Siberia. At the Yamal occupation 
site of Yarroto I, such scrapers were the only imple 
ments occurring with fragments of Bichevnik-type 
pottery dated to the fifth through eighth century A. D. 
(Khiobystin 1967:148). Aceramic Taymyr sites that 
contain similar scrapers may therefore date to the 
late prehistoric period (A.D. 500 to 1 500). 

The charcoal layer of the Novorybnoye III site on 
the Khatanga River was found to contain, together 
with reindeer bones, a small sub-rectangular whet- 
stone for grinding metal objects and a fragment of a 
thin bronze plate (Fig. 1 50:7) with pieces of another 
plate attached to it. The significance of the plate is 
apparent from finds from Pyasina VI where five frag- 
ments of thin bronze plates and two bronze buttons 
were found on a wind-eroded spot (Fig. 150:1-2). 
Two of the fragments (Fig. 1 50:3, 5) are pieces of 
two plates joined together. In order to connect the 
plates, cuts were made on the edges and the resulting 
rectangular "teeth" were alternately bent over either 
side. Then the plates were joined together, the teeth 
of one plate placed on those of the other, and the 
joins were soldered. The two plates had a thickened 
bent-over edge, and this was probably how the caul- 
dron edge was fashioned. One of the plates had a 

hole filled with a bronze rivet. The plate edges bear 
traces of cutting. The cauldron must have been cut 
into pieces, some of which were utilized and others, 
those with joins, thrown away. 

The round, convex buttons have links on the 
concave side for attachment. One of the buttons is 
decorated on the convex side with radial grooves and 
the other with two concentric bosses. The edges of 
the latter remain as cast, as the button was never 

Finds from FVasina VI resemble artifacts discov- 
ered at a workshop on the Taz River (Khiobystin and 
Ovsiannikov 1973): cuttings of copper plates with 
traces of riveted joins and buttons similar to the 
Pyasina kind. The buttons, like those from Pyasina 
VI, were unfinished. The workshop on the Taz River, 
which probably belonged to a Samoyedic-speaking 
population, is dated to the twelfth century. Artifacts 
include decorations used until recently by the Enets 
and the Nganasan. Buttons like those from Pyasina 
VI were formerly in use as decorations among the 
Nganasan. Based on the evidence of the workshop 
on the Taz River, Pyasina VI should be dated to the 
first half of the second millennium A.D. The site 
was probably the dwelling of a craftsman who made 
bronze decorations. 

Iron Age evidence from two sites illustrates the 
skills of the Taymyr inhabitants and of their distinc- 
tive culture: an iron knife from Glubokoe I and two 
arrowheads from Staroye Barkhatovo I. The knife 
from Glubokoe I is in a fine state of preservation (Fig. 
47:2). It differs from other iron knives on record in 
that, like the single-cast bronze knives of the Tagar 
period, it has a decorated handle forged from the 
same piece of metal as the blade. The knife has a 
straight back. The handle is decorated with three 
zones of horizontal lines with two spaces in between 
that are decorated with small triangular incisions. The 
pentagonal handle knob is decorated at the corners, 
leaving an undecorated triangular field. The blade is 
sharpened on only one side, thus resembling ground 
stone knives of the Neolithic and Bronze Age of 


Siberia. This manner of sharpening homemade iron 
l<nives prevails among the aboriginal population of 
the Taymyr Peninsula to this day. The Clubokoe knife 
has no direct parallels but in form and ornamentation 
it is reminiscent of Tagar knives and can therefore 
presumably be dated to the first millennium A.D. 

Arrowheads with distinctive foreshafts (Fig. 151) 
were found on a hill between the Dudypta River and its 
left-bank tributary, the Kamennaya, near the deserted 
trading station of Staroye Barkhatovo, in a layer of 
sand at a depth of ten centimeters. The bronze plate 
points are patinated, almond-shaped, sharpened by 
bilateral edge grinding, and have notched bases. The 
smaller-sized arrowhead (Fig. 151:1), measuring six 
centimeters in length, is fastened between two pieces 
of antler with two copper rivets, one connecting the 
shafts to the arrowhead and the other fastening 
them together in the notch. Supposedly, the base of 
the arrow was wedged into the end of the foreshaft. 
The point of the arrowhead is bent to one side. The 
other, larger, arrowhead (Fig. 1 51:2) measures nine 
centimeters in length, fits into the slot at the end of 
an oval antler foreshaft and is fastened to it with two 
rivets. The rivet passing through the arrowhead is 
of iron, the other is of copper. The distal end of the 
foreshaft is broken off. 

Antler holders for fastening stone arrowheads 
to shafts were found in a burial near the Boguchan, 
a tributary of the Lower Lena (Okladnikov 1 946:71 , 
table X). The burial containing bronze artifacts 
may be attributed to the Ymiyakhtakh culture. The 
arrowheads from Staroye Barkhatovo I should prob- 
ably be associated with the initial stage of the Iron 
Age when the new metal had not yet become the 
principal raw material. 

The occurrence of two arrowheads lying together 
with no other finds nearby is puzzling. A possible 
explanation is provided by material on sacrificial 
sites of the ethnic groups of the North, the Kor/ak in 
particular. I.S. Vdovin (1 971), investigating one of the 
Koryak votive sites, or appapil', on the Vetvei River 
on the east coast of Kamchatka, found, in addition to 

1 54 

beads and animal skulls, hunting weapons, including 
wooden, bone, iron and composite arrowheads. One 
of the iron arrowheads was riveted to the antler shaft 
(Vdovin 1 971 :table V, 8) with a fastening technique 
similar to that found at Barkhatovo I. Similar artifacts 
found in Taymyr and Kamchatka attest to a wide dis- 
tribution of this type of arrowhead among the ethnic 
groups of Northeast Siberia. Based on the arrowhead 
from the appapil', one of the possible interpreta- 
tions of Staroye Barkhatovo I is that it represents the 
remains of a votive site with no preserved objects of 
wood or bone. 

The historical processes taking place on Taymyr 
were highly complex and responsible for the diversity 
of cultures found there. The interplay of cultures 
with western and eastern traditions that began in the 
Bronze Age resulted in the development in the west- 
ern part of the Taymyr Peninsula of the Pyasina culture 
and its Malokorenninsk successor. Concurrently, cul- 
tures with eastern traditions were developing on the 
peninsula, embodied in Ust-Cherninsk and Tagenar 
sites. New cultures formed in the territories of East 
Siberia lying farther south penetrated Taymyr later; 
their populations left Boyarka- and Ust-Polovinka- 
type sites. The Ust-Polovinka sites datable to the first 
centuries of the second millennium A.D. are found 
in both the eastern and western parts of the Taymyr 
Peninsula where previously the Malokorenninsk 
culture had been in existence. In all probability, this 
is evidence that the Malokorenninsk population was 
assimilated by the new arrivals. 

The history of the ethno-cultural processes that 
were taking place on the peninsula between the first 
and second millennia B.C.— processes that were 
vitally important in the evolution of the Nganasan, 
the aboriginal inhabitants of the region— would be 
incomplete without an account of another tradition: 
the Vozhpay culture. 

The Vozhpay Culture 

The evolution of the Taymyr Peninsula cultures in 
the first millennium B.C. under the dominating influ- 


ence of East Siberian traditions was complicated by 
the intrusion of a new population from West Siberia. 
Presumably, the intrusion affected only the western 
part of the peninsula where a remarkable site was 
discovered and excavated on the FVasina River. In 
order to appreciate the importance of that site for 
reconstructing the ethnogeny of the peoples of the 
North it is necessary to refer again to the ancient 
history of West Siberia. 

The Dyuna III Site 

Seventy-one kilometers downstream from its 
source, the Pyasina River has a left-bank tributary, 
a brook originating in the Cherepanov Lakes. The 
brook has cut the bank into two terraces, seven 
and eleven meters high; there the terrace surface, 
wind-eroded in many places, is covered with dunes. 
A number of ancient sites named Dyuna I through 
Dyuna VI were discovered in the vicinity of the 
brook. In 1972, during a high-water stage of the 
Pyasina, at the mouth of the brook on the gentle 
slope of a wind-eroded section of Terrace I, frag- 
ments of pottery were found that were decorated 
with a distinctive design never before encountered 
on the Taymyr Peninsula. 

Exposed in the 6-by-8-meter excavation area at 
the eroding edge of the terrace was a hearth and rows 
of larchwood poles that represented the remains of a 
dwelling. In 1 973, a total of 324 square meters were 
excavated (Fig. 1 52), in accordance with the expected 
size and orientation of the dwelling, extended over 
some of the blown-out sections and the edge of a 
high dune. Therefore, the depth of sand deposits 
over the cultural layer varied from several centimeters 
in the western part of the area to 2.3 meters in the 
southeastern corner. The remains of the structure lie 
on the horizontal surface of a brown band of sand 
0.3 to 0.5 centimeter thick with charcoal inclusions. 
In all probability, the color of the band was due to 
the rotted wood remains of the dwelling. 

The cultural layer is on a surface of laminated 
sand. The sand deposits overlying the cultural layer 


were denuded in the past by wind erosion, covered 
with soil and later buried under aeolian sand. Within 
the buried soil layer is a frost wedge with a crack 
traceable in Squares 3 and 4 that bifurcates in Square 
1 2 and passes into Squares 1 1 and 21 . The wooden 
structural elements lying in the cultural layer were 
damaged by the crack. 

Buried under the sand in the eastern part of the 
excavation area were stumps and roots of eight 
larches with roots reaching into the cultural layer. 
The bases of six larger stumps (70 to 90 cm high, 20 
to 28 cm and, in one case, 35 cm in diameter at the 
base) were 1 5 to 30 centimeters above the cultural 
layer. The trunks had been burnt. Similar stumps 
could be seen on wind-eroded places in the vicinity 
of the site. A layer of alder leaves and other plants 
was found in the frozen ground between the roots of 
a large stump. Another large stump was encountered 
in Square 35. Two smaller larch stumps, 20 and 24 
centimeters in diameter (Fig. 1 53) with bases imme- 
diately above the cultural layer were found in Square 
54. The trunk of one of those trees, over 7.5 meters 
long with a diameter of 20 centimeters, had fallen 
towards the southwest. The other larch trunk, lying 
just above some poles, was probably a standing tree 
when the structure was still intact. It was partially hid- 
den under the northern wall of the excavation pit; the 
top part, exposed in the pit, was 7.2 meters long. The 
trunk crossed Squares 8, 1 7, and 26 in a southwest 
direction. The thin trunk, 1 6 centimeters thick at the 
pit wall, was the kind used to cut 5-to-6-meter-long 
poles for constructing the dwelling. 

In Squares 62 and 71 , the sequence of cultural 
remains and parts of the buried trees were as fol- 
lows: fragments of pottery on the floor under some 
bark and poles of the dwelling structure; a ten- 
centimeter-thick layer of sand; and a larch trunk 
ten centimeters above which was a stump with 
roots beneath the trunk. From these facts one can 
deduce that a deciduous forest grew twice over the 
dwelling remains, and each time was destroyed by 
shifting sand. 

1 55 

Wooden remains of the dwelling were found over 
the entire surface of the excavation area, except in 
the southwestern cornerwhere they had lain close to 
the surface and had rotted away or were destroyed by 
wind erosion and denudation of the terrace edge. In 
the northern and eastern parts of the pit the remains 
extend beyond the walls. Therefore the size of the 
dwelling has not been determined and is difficult to 

The dwelling remains (Figs. 1 54, 1 55) consisted of 
poles, logs, and bark lying singly or in accumulations 
on the northern, eastern, and part of the southern 
side of the hearth, which is roughly in the center of 
the excavation area in Squares 41, 42, 50 and 51. 
The hearth, rectangular in plan, extends east-west for 
2.7 meters and measures 1.5 and 1.7 meters wide 
in the western and eastern parts, respectively. The 
hearth was bounded on the northern, western, and 
southern sides with logs lying at floor level. On the 
eastern side, its outlines are vague, extending over 
the remains of a log. 

The hearth layer, 9 to 1 centimeters above floor 
level, had the following stratification in the center: 
the top consisted of a black charcoal band two centi- 
meters thick with abundant pieces of charcoal, below 
which was a three-centimeter-thick reddish lens of 
loam or clay that was baked in the central part, and a 
highly fired sand layer underneath extending as much 
as thirteen centimeters below floor level. Encountered 
on and in the charcoal layer were fragments of pot- 
tery, ceramic slag, small burned bones of fish, and 
reindeer bones including several mandibles. In the 
center of the hearth was a piece of iron slag. An 
interesting find was a fragment of a ceramic cylinder 
three centimeters in diameter that widened to four 
centimeters at one end (Fig. 1 56:4) and which was 
reminiscent of a leg support. On the western edge 
of the hearth lay two large boulders that rose above 
the charcoal layer. 

Near and on the hearth lay poles, apparently from 
the roof, with an orientation that coincided almost 
exactly with the cardinal directions. At a distance 

1 56 

149/ Scrapers from Dudypta XII. 

I I I I 

1 50/ Bronze artifacts from Pyasina VI (nos. 1-6) 
and Novorybnoye III (7). 

of 1 .4 meters from the northern side of the hearth, 
along Squares 31 through 34, was an accumulation 
of small poles; those in a better state of preserva- 
tion measured about 1 .4 meters long. The poles lay 
parallel and close to one another, extending in a 
north-south direction. Traceable under their southern 
ends were thicker poles oriented east-west. It seems 
that the upper, shorter poles were tied to the lower 
poles, forming a single lattice-like structure. A layer of 


rotten bark, most likely of deciduous trees, could be 
traced between and, occasionally, on the poles. The 
bark was in a poor state of preservation but its fibers 
extended along the upper poles, which suggests that 
the layers of bark were placed on top of the shorter 
poles. No bark was discovered under the poles. As 
decay was progressing, the stronger poles pierced 
the bark, which filled the spaces between them. 

Remains of a similar structural element extending 
from north to south were also exposed about one 
meter from the eastern side of the hearth. The poles 
there were over three meters long. That structural ele- 
ment formed a right angle with the northern "lattice." 
It is conceivable that there had been similar lattices 
on the western and southern sides of the hearth. All 
together they formed a triangular dwelling frame. 
The positioning of the poles lying near the hearth 
suggests that the smoke hole above the hearth was 
fringed with another frame of poles. Heavier poles, 
about ten centimeters thick, found northeast of the 
hearth in Squares 43 and 44 form a rectangle that 
was probably the skeleton of the lattice at the joint 
of the northern and southeastern lattices. There is 
evidence that larch bark formed part of the bark 
covering of the structure. 

At first glance it would 
seem that the dwelling 
remains in the northern part 
of the excavation area were 
in a state of chaos. However, 
four accumulations of poles 
and layers of bark can be 
distinguished there. In the 
northeastern corner, most of 
Squares 9 and 1 8 was occu- 
pied by a lattice made of two 
poles (oriented nearly north- 
east) supporting the ends of 
several other poles. On the 
northern side lay six poles 
covered with bark spaced 

forty centimeters apart; on the southern side, the 
poles lay haphazardly. 

Another accumulation of poles covering Squares 
16, 17, 25 and 26 resembled a herringbone pat- 
tern—rows of thin poles lay at an angle of 30 degrees 
on both sides of an east-west oriented pole. No bark 
was found here. Standing upside down between the 
poles in Square 1 6 was a small pot with a broken rim 
(Fig. 1 57:2). North of that feature, in Squares 1 5 and 
24, was another pile consisting of two thick poles 
oriented northwest to southeast lying twelve meters 
apart with some thinner poles on top. In Squares 1 5 
and 1 6, ten such poles lay in a fan-like pattern, their 
thinner ends converging at the base pole to which 
they could have been attached, forming a single 
construction with the poles of Square 24. 

Squares 5, 14, 12, 13 and part of Square 22 were 
occupied by thick logs and wide (1 4 to 20 cm) strips 
of bark. In Squares 5 and 1 4, logs with the butt ends 
facing northeast cross a row of poles occupying 
Squares 12,13 and 22 at right angles; the butt-ends 
of the latter poles point northwest. The strips of bark 
here were on top of the poles. Some strips of bark 
and fragments of poles from the northern wall of the 
excavation pit were charred and pieces of charcoal 

5 cm 

J I I 

1 51 / Bronze arrowheads from Staroye Barkhatovo I. 


were found between them. The large size of the 
poles and strips of bark suggest that they were part 
of the dwelling wall. Strips of bark were also found in 
Squares 2 and 1 1 . The opposite, southeastern corner 
of the excavation pit also contained thick logs and 
strips of bark that intersected at right angles. 

The bases of four posts dug into the subsoil 
sand were found in the excavation pit, two of them 
west of the hearth: one (at the D-7 stake) 1 .2 meters 
and the other (at the D-6 stake) 0.8 meter from the 
hearth. The upper part of the posts had rotted away. 
The first was 3 5 centimeters long with a diameter 
of 1 1 centimeters. It was dug to a depth of over 30 
centimeters beneath the brownish floor layer of the 
dwelling. Its base was sharpened with two slashes 
on opposite sides. The slash is 1 5 centimeters long; 
the smooth surface suggests that each slash was 
made with a single sweeping stroke. Another similarly 
slashed northern post was 28 centimeters long and 
had a diameter of 8 centimeters. The remaining two 
posts were about 10 centimeters in diameter; one 
was placed 1 .6 meters north of the hearth (East E-5 
stake) and the other almost 5 meters east of it (at 
the 1-7 stake). All the posts are structural elements 
that supported the roof and the walls of the dwell- 
ing. Originally there were probably more than four 
supporting posts. In some places the poles and the 
bark were lying in gray sand 2 to 5 centimeters and, 
less frequently, 10 centimeters above the brownish 
floor layer. This indicates that the sand accumulated 
after the dwelling was deserted, but before the pole 
structure collapsed. 

Assuming that the hearth was in the center of the 
dwelling, that the thick logs and wide strips of bark 
exposed in the northern part of the excavation area 
formed its walls, and that the thin pole lattices lying 
around the hearth were parts of the roof, it is possible 
to tentatively reconstruct the dwelling. 

Parts of the roof fell down almost vertically and, 
lying on the floor, formed, as it were, a projection 
of the roof; however, the walls could have fallen 
both inside the dwelling, covering parts of the roof 

1 58 

that had fallen down earlier, or sideways, possibly 
due to the wind. Indeed, the position of the poles 
in the northern part of the excavation area seems 
to indicate that the structures fell in a southeastern 
direction, which is quite natural since northwest 
winds predominate in the region. Part of the wall 
of the northern edge of the dwelling fell inside over 
some pots. The log structure exposed in the north- 
eastern corner of the excavation area, in Squares 9 
and 18, could have dropped outside the dwelling. 
Inside the dwelling were the logs in Squares 70 and 
71 , associated with the wall. 

The distance between the center of the hearth and 
the end of the wall structures in the northern part 
of the excavation area is approximately ten meters. 
Therefore, the dwelling could have had a diameter 
of about twenty meters. Around the hearth, at a 
distance of 2.2 to 2.6 meters from its center, would 
have been the first row of posts, the second row 
being some six meters apart. The two rows were 
connected by thick poles covered with a dense layer 
of thinner poles and bark that formed the roof. Due 
to the greater height of the inner row of posts, the 
roof could have had a slight pitch. The outer row of 
posts were arranged in a hexagon, and the poles that 
connected them could support the log lattices that 
formed the walls. The wall structures were placed 
directly on the ground about four meters from the 
outer row of posts, the walls sloping at an angle of 
about 45 degrees. The lattice wall structures were 
covered with bark and possibly with reindeer hides. 
The hides could also have been used for covering the 
smoke hole. A dwelling of this kind could have had 
an area of 350 square meters. 

No artifacts were found in the dwelling other than 
a wooden vessel in a poor state of preservation near 
the southeastern corner of the hearth, a cylindrical 
clay stand or leg, and numerous potsherds. There 
were few bone remains. As noted above, reindeer 
and fish bones from the hearth were in a poor state 
of preservation. Two reindeer mandibles lay next to 
the hearth, and a splintered reindeer cannon bone 


was exposed in a square next to some small pieces 
of charcoal. In Square 35, among the haphazard 
accumulation of broken poles was a larch root; its 
end was sharpened with four axe slashes. In Square 
26, a pile of larch (?) twigs lay under some poles 
and bark. Such twigs were used by aborigines of the 
Taymyr Peninsula for bedding. 

In most cases pottery occurred as accumulations 
of fragments from a broken vessel. A total of ten 
accumulations were noted, generally under the poles. 
The small pot that stood upside down between the 
poles in Square 16 was intact. The large pot at the 
boundary of Squares 71 and 62 was shattered by the 
falling roof. Another pot that stood nearby in Square 

















































































I. -2 

© - 3 

- 5 

/52/ Map of the excavation of Dyuna III. Legend: I = poles. 2 = bark: 3 = postholes; 4 = rocks; 5 = sherd 
concentrations, 6 = twigs; 7 = charcoal; 8 = hearth; 9 = wooden vessel fragments. 


62 was partly spared; it was filled with large pieces 
of charcoal and the impact was less destructive (Fig. 
157:1). The charcoal in the pot provides the means 
to obtain a reliable absolute date. In all probability, 
the pot was used for heating or making smudge to 
deter insects. 

Fragments of twenty-eight vessels were exposed 
in the excavation area, some in the eroded section 
where the dwelling remains were exposed. However, 
the fact that many vessels were broken when the 
dwelling collapsed indicates that they were left inside 
when the site was deserted. All the vessels are round 
bottomed and smooth surfaced and have a small 
amount of sand temper. They include a small bowl 
(rim diameter of 11.7 cm, height 7 cm) decorated 
with four pairs of horizontal lines with a row of small, 
slanting impressions in between. This ornamental 
design will be referred to below as a "filled band." 
Below, the ornament ends in a "fringe" of vertical 
comb impressions (Fig. 158:4, 5, 8). Two small 
undecorated pots or bowls with a diameter of about 
five centimeters (Fig. 1 58:6, 7) could have been toys. 
The other twenty-five vessels are pots with distinctly 
decorated necks. 

Four pots are of small size; two of those have been 
restored (Fig. 1 57:2). One, 1 1 centimeters high, has 
a rim diameter of 10 centimeters; the dimensions 
of the others are 1 2.4 and 1 3 centimeters. The rim 
diameters of the other two pots of that group are 1 4 
and 1 9 centimeters (Figs. 1 59:1 , 2; 1 60). The neck 
and shoulder ornamentation of two of the pots is 
similar to the design of the basin— the principal dif- 
ference is in the addition of a band of pits beneath 
the rim. Two other vessels are ornamented with a 
band of interpenetrating triangles on the neck and 
beneath, on the shoulder, with triangular scallops 
and a "fringe" of vertical impressions in one case, and 
in the other, with a "filled band" and a "fringe." This 
ornamental pattern is typical of a group of thirteen 
large pots with a rim diameter between 22 and 30 
centimeters. One of these has been restored; height 
and rim diameter both measure 28 centimeters. 

/ 53/ Detail of the excavation of Dyuna III; a layer 
containing the roots of larch trees covers the re- 
mains of the dwelling. 

Judging by the dimensions of the restored vessels, 
the height of the other pots may have roughly coin- 
cided with the rim diameter. 

The large vessels, like the smaller ones, had 
ornamentation on rim, neck, and shoulder; the body 
was left undecorated. The design consisted of comb 
impressions and pricks. An encircling row of pits, 
frequently grouped in pairs, was placed under the 
rim, which was thickened in some cases. The upper 
and outer rim edges were decorated with vertical 
or slanting comb impressions. Under the row of 
pits on the neck was the principal ornamental band 
bounded above and below by paired horizontal comb 
lines. Between the lines was usually a composition of 
interpenetrating triangles with separate small impres- 
sions, pricks or filled bands inside (Figs. 1 57:1 , 1 60, 
161, 1 62:1 ). Occasionally, the inner part of the band 
was occupied by a more intricate pattern consisting 
of filled bands (Figs. 1 59:4, 163, 1 64, 1 65:4, 5). In 
rare cases a filled band was placed under the principal 



/ 54/ Overview of the excavation ofDyuna III; note distribution of wooden remains 
of the dwelling. View looking south. 

1 55/ Overview of the excavation of Dyuna III. View looking northwest. 


belt, but more often the belt was in a frame of comb 
"fringe" or oblique columns of small, horizontal 
impressions or horizontal herringbone patterns or 
triangular scallops. Scalloped edges could end in a 
"fringe," and in two cases their corners were marked 
with vertical comb impressions (Figs. 1 59:2; 1 62:2). 
Among this group of pots there are three vessels with 
simple ornamentation similar to that of the bowl and 
the small pots: a composition of horizontal comb 
lines with bands in between filled with vertical comb 
impressions (Figs. 1 66, 1 67). Despite the diversity of 
patterns, all the vessels from Dyuna Hi form a single 
typological group. 

The type of pottery discovered on Taymyr 
Peninsula is unknown in the territories to the south 
and southeast, i.e., in Evenkia and Yakutia. Its deco- 
ration can be traced back to designs on Andronovo 
and Karasuk vessels and points to origins among 
the northern regions of West Siberia that neighbor 
Taymyr. There the tradition of comb ornamentation 
and paired pits prevailed since the Neolithic; speci- 
mens of pottery have been found with designs similar 
to patterns found on the Dyuna III vessels. 

On the right bank of the Ob, in its lower reaches 
near Kushevat is the settlement site of Vozhpay sur- 
veyed in 192 5 by D. N. Redrikov. Part of the pottery 
material collected by Redrikov was published by V. N. 
Chernetsov. The specimens illustrated by Chernetsov 
have a line of pits under the rim and an ornamental 
band on the neck filled with horizontal herringbone 
designs, an oblique net, or interpenetrating triangles. 
The design was applied with comb stamps and occa- 
sionally with a pricked design bounding the figures. 
There is no fringe under the band, and the body of 
the vessels is undecorated. 

This particular group of Vozhpay pottery is 
similar in ornamentation to the vessels from Dyuna 
III. Chernetsov identified that pottery as a special 
Vozhpay group belonging to the Orontur stage and 
transitory to the later Kintusov stage in the cultural 
evolution of the Lower Ob region. According to 
Chernetsov, such pottery was in existence "appar- 

1 56/ Typical sherds and ceramic cylinder (no. 4) 
from Dyuna III. 

ently, during the greater part of the ninth century 
A.D." (Chernetsov 1953b:200). Chernetsov classified 
the vessels from the Barsoff Gorodok cemetery with 
Vozhpay pottery. The cemetery was excavated in 
1 891 by F. Martin and published by T. Arne (1 935). 
Pointing to certain local features of the pottery from 
the burial ground, Chernetsov maintained that it 
closely resembled Vozhpay ware and was partly 
contemporaneous with it. 

Examination of the pottery from Barsoff Gorodok 
cemetery shows that most of the specimens differ 
markedly from the wares of both Vozhpay and Dyuna 
III. The vessels are of assorted shapes and decora- 
tion sometimes covers the bodies of the pots. The 
patterns utilize bracket-like, serpentine, and other 
stamps characteristic of pottery from the regions 
east of the northern and central Urals, which may be 
associated with ancient Ob Ugrian tribes, the forefa- 



thers of the Khanty and the Mansi. At the same time, 
some pots are similar in form to the vessels from 
Dyuna III and have a row of pits under the rim and 
on the neck, a belt ornament filled with a horizontal 
herringbone, obliquely placed comb impressions, 
and interpenetrating triangles. Pits beneath the rim 
are occasionally grouped in pairs (Arne 1 935:figs. 72, 
88a, b, 93, 1 04, 1 48, 1 49, 1 56; for similar vessels 
without pits, see figs. 94, 152, 1 57, 1 63). A charac- 
teristic feature not present in Vozhpay pottery is a 
"fringe" under the decorative band formed by vertical 
or obliquely placed comb impressions or pricked 
lines. Occasionally, the "fringe" has a more intricate 
configuration. Such features bridge the gap between 
the vessels from Barsoff Gorodok and Dyuna III. 

The entire burial ground is dated to between the 
eighth and twelfth century A.D. Most of the graves 
that contain vessels comparable to the Dyuna III 
pottery lack artifacts that would furnish a way to 
date them. However, Crave 81 yielded a complex 
of objects that can be used to date the feature. The 
complex consists of a buckle with a bear figure and 
cross-shaped buttons (Arne 1935:figs. 145, 147). 
Based on the buttons, Arne correlated Grave 81 
with Grave 61 , which he dated to the tenth century 
based on the bracelet found there (Arne 1935:75). 

] 57/ Refitted vessels from Dyuna III. 

The buttons, however, are of widespread occurrence 
both territorially and chronologically (Khiobystin and 
Ovsiannikov 1973). Buckles with bear figures were 
attributed by Chernetsov to the Orontur stage, dated 
to the sixth through ninth century. Thus, the type of 
pottery under consideration may be placed within 
a chronological framework of the ninth and tenth 
centuries. The dates for Vozhpay and for burials at 
the Barsoff Gorodok cemetery containing pottery of 
the Vozhpay type are in agreement with the dates for 
the Dyuna III finds as determined through analysis of 
the hearth charcoal: 1050 ± 50 B.P. (LE 1 105), i.e., 
A.D. 900 (uncorrected). 

The similarities between the pottery of these 
three widely separated, contemporaneous sites in 
northwest Siberia and the Taymyr Peninsula suggest 
that a distinctive culture was in existence in the ninth 
century in the territory between the lower reaches 
of the Ob and the Yenisey within the Nadym, Pur, 
and Taz Basins. Material from West Siberian regions 
lying farther south may elucidate the sources of 
that culture. Sites in the Vakh-Vasyugan reach of 
the Middle Ob are the closest analogs to Vozhpay 
sites to the north, Dyuna III in particular. On the 
Vakh River, a small amount of Vozhpay pottery was 
found in Horizon I of the Bolshoi Laryak occupation 
site. Along with fragments with interpenetrating 
triangles typical of Vozhpay ware were remains of a 
pot with bands of vertical comb-stamp impressions 
divided by a drawn comb line, a motif characteristic 
of Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery. Vessels with 
ornamentation resembling Vozhpay pots were also 
found at the Bolshoi Laryak settlement (Posrednikov 
1 969:84, table 33:8-1 1 ; 1 973a:89, 90, table 4:1-3, 
7-1 2). Some of these specimens are distinguished by 
the use of pricked designs and by a slight ridge-like 
thickening beneath the rim edge. 

Among the pottery attributed to the Bronze Age 
is a vessel with an ornament (Posrednikov 1973a: 
table 3:11) that may be regarded as an early form of 
the Vozhpay type. A ridge-like thickening under the 
rim edge is also typical of the Vozhpay pots from 



the Vasyugan area, at the Tukh-Emtor occupation 
site and the neighboring Tukh-Emtor IV settlement 
(Kiriushin 1 976:table X). The Tukh-Emtor vessels, like 
the Bolshoi Laryak sherds of Vozhpay pottery, have 
peculiarities of ornamentation that distinguish them 
from the Vozhpay ware of the north. Such distinctive 
features result from the use of horizontal zigzags on 
the rims, as well as horizontal herringbone patterns 
on and under the rims and in the "fringe" at the bot- 
tom of the decorative zone. 

The peculiarities listed above provide the basis for 
identifying the sites in question as a distinctive Vakh- 
Vasyugan variant of the Vozhpay culture. Although 
the Vozhpay sites in the Middle Ob-lrtysh region 
manifest certain peculiar decorative features that 
distinguish them from the northern Vozhpay sites, 
such features are not significant enough to preclude 
combining all of these sites into a single culture. It 
was probably from the Vakh-Vasyugan reach of the 
Ob, via the rivers flowing from the Siberian highlands, 
that in the ninth century the Vakh-Vasyugan culture 
spread to the polar regions of West Siberia and into 

Following Chernetsov's example, some investiga- 
tors regarded Vozhpay pottery from the Ob-lrtysh 
region as a late variant of Orontur ware; sites con- 
taining such pottery were attributed to the ancient 
Ugrians— the Khanty, to be more precise (Kiriushin 
1976:29; Mogilnikov 1965:279, 280). The prob- 
lematic relationship between Vozhpay and Orontur 
pottery will be discussed below. Kiriushin's conclu- 
sion that the Tukh-Emtor occupation site belonged 
to the ancient Khanty, based on the fact that the 
Khanty residing nearby associate the site with their 
ancestors, appears to me to be unjustified. There are 
cases of local inhabitants considering archaeological 
sites to be alien and unrelated to them because the 
artifacts differ from present-day articles, even though 
the sites were left by their remote but direct ances- 
tors. On the other hand, new settlers may assume 
that the ancient sites in the area belonged to their 
forefathers. This phenomenon can also be explained 

by assimilation of an aboriginal population by the 
new arrivals. 

N.V. Fedorova suggests that it is erroneous to 
identify archaeological cultures on the basis of pot- 
tery decoration since cultural unity prevailed through- 
out the Ob-lrtysh Basin in the first millennium A.D., 
which manifested itself primarily in the decoration 
of pottery with local variants gradually blending into 
each other. Three periods in the evolution of pottery 
can be identified in the framework of that homoge- 
neous zone; Orontur ware, including Vozhpay, was 
developing on the basis of figure-stamp ceramics of 
the Karym stage (Fedorova 1978). 

The cultural unity noted by Fedorova is charac- 
teristic not only of the first millennium A. D.— such 
cultural homogeneity may be identified in earlier 
stages as well and not only in the region under 
review— but also in other territories, for example, the 
cultural uniformity of pit-comb ware that prevailed in 
the Neolithic in much of the European territory of the 
USSR from the tundra to the forest-steppe zone. 

A number of chronologically successive periods 
of cultural uniformity have been identified in East 
Siberia on the basis of the wide occurrence of netted, 
cord-impressed, waffle-ribbed, and ridged pottery. 
Local variants of culturally unified regions often 
blend smoothly into one another and are sometimes 
indistinguishable. At the interfaces of these zones 
of cultural uniformity are combinations of design 
features characteristic of neighboring zones. 

With the accumulation of knowledge, archaeolo- 
gists increasingly find evidence of cultural continuity, 
both territorial and chronological. At the present 
stage of development of archaeological science, 
this continuity poses considerable difficulties for 
the identification of local, ethnically related cultures. 
There are a number of reasons for cultural continuity, 
the principal one being interethnic integration and 
cultural influence. Interethnic integration accounts 
for continuity between culturally unified regions. 
The existence of cultural unity is mainly determined 
by cultural influences involving communities with 



close relationships. The spreading within a region 
of cultural unity of distinctive types of pottery may 
be explained as a trend. As with current fashions 
nowadays, trends can extend over a number of cul- 
turally unified regions and assume archaeological 
significance as chronological indicators. Whenever 
distinct local variants can be identified within a cultur- 
ally unified region and defined on the basis of pot- 
tery decoration, a local "unity" can be distinguished 
that was created by social relations within society. A 
local "unity" may be a local variant of culture, but if 
it manifests some distinctive features inherited from 
the past and differentiating it from other local vari- 
ants, the inference would be that the local variant is 
associated with an ethnic group that maintains its 

Regarding the problem of how Vozhpay pottery 
fits into contemporaneous ceramic complexes of 
the Ob and the Irtysh Basins, I would point to the 
inappropriate use of the term "Orontur" as applied 
to Vozhpay ware. At the outset, Chernetsov dif- 

/ 58/ Sherds from Dyuna III. 

ferentiated Vozhpay pottery from Orontur, which 
he distinguished on the basis of materials from the 
Us-Tolt and Orontur occupation sites in the Konda 
Basin. The Konda is a left-bank tributary of the Lower 
Irtysh. Based on decoration, Us-Tolt and Orontur 
wares are attributable to the same trend, i.e., to 
the Orontur stage, as Vozhpay pottery. At the same 
time, due to the ridges on it, Orontur pottery more 

/ 59/ Sherds from Dyuna III. 

1 60/ Refitted portion of vessel from Dyuna III. 



closely resembles the Vakh-Vasyugan variant than 
the ceramic complexes of Vozhpay and Dyuna III. 
However, Tynsk pottery, identified by V. D. Viktorova, 
manifests greater similarities to Orontur pottery of 
the Konda Basin (Viktorova 1970:264-266, table 
11:11, 1 2). Tynsk-type sites are characterized by ves- 
sels with high straight necks, incised ridges, figure 
stamps, angular and crescent indentations, and 
"pearls," or bulges inside the pot that result from 
decorative pits made on the outer surface. Continuity 
in decoration can be traced between Konda and Tavda 
sites and earlier Karym and Tuman sites. 

A number of decorative elements may be 
accounted for by the greater age of the sites as com- 
pared to those of the Vozhpay. However, no Vozhpay 
ceramics have been found on the left bank of the 
Lower Irtysh. Therefore, Konda and Tavda sites may 
be classified as a local Orontur-Tynsk variant with 
traditions of figure-stamp pottery that differ from 
those of Vozhpay. 

Pots similar in ornamentation to Vozhpay ware 
are occasionally encountered among the ceramic 
complexes of the ninth through thirteenth century 
in the forest zone of the Irtysh Basin, specifically 
at the Novonikolsk IV occupation site (Mogilnikov 
1964; 1968:figs. 2:2, 10) and the Novonikolsk 
burial ground. However, the majority of these com- 
plexes consist of vessels decorated with vertical 
comb zigzags as well as oval, diamond-shaped and 
angular stamps. The pearls, or bulges, and the cord 
impressions are ornamental elements they have in 
common with the Orontur vessels from the Konda 
Basin and with the ceramics of the Tavda and Tura 
sites, respectively. The latter sites date to between 
the first and second millennium (Viktorova 1968). 
Although in vessel shape and scallop ornamentation, 
the pottery from the Irtysh forest zone resembles 
Vozhpay ware, it is beyond the Vozhpay culture 
region and is much closer to the vessels from the 
Tobol Basin. Specimens resembling Vozhpay pots 
are suggestive of contacts with the populations of 
the Vasyugan area. 

161/ Refitted portion of vessel from Dyuna 111. 

1 62/ Typical sherds from Dyuna HI. 

At the end of the first millennium A.D., the trend 
toward more complex ornamentation that manifested 
itself in the appearance of a special decorative zone 
on the necks of vessels that is filled with zigzags, 
rhomboid designs or interpenetrating triangles, as 
well as in a fringe and scallops beneath the zone, 
prevailed throughout the forest zone of West Siberia. 
However, in different regions the decoration varied 
in keeping with existing traditions. 

According to Chernetsov, the use of stamped 
impressions was the salient decorative feature of 



/ 63/ Typical sherds from Dyuna III. 

164/ Refitted portion of vessel from Dyuna III. 

1 65/ Sherds from Dyuna III. 

1 66/ Vessel rims from Dyuna III. 

167/ Vessel rim from Dyuna III. 

the Lower Ob culture. Even when stamped patterns 
were no longer utilized for ceramic decoration, they 
continued to be used in the production of birch-bark 
utensils by the Ob Ugrians, the Khanty, and the Mansi 
(Chernetsov 1953a:69, 70). 

The association of figure-stamped pottery with 
the ancient Ugrians is recognized by the majority 
of archaeologists working in West Siberia. The wide 
distribution of such pottery in West Siberia in the 
middle and second half of the first millennium A.D. 
was in all probability due to the settlement of Ugrian 
ethnic groups in new territories and to the extension 
of their cultural influence on Samoyedic speakers. 
Therefore the Orontur vessels found in the original 
territory of Ugrian habitation may be regarded as 
Ugrian ware. 

We are coming now to the problem of the sources 
of Vozhpay pottery. In the center of the Middle Ob 
region, at the boundary between the Tomsk and 
Narym districts, is the Relka cemetery, a thoroughly 
studied site dated from the sixth through the eighth 
century (Chindina 1 977). L. A. Chindina identified two 
types of potter/ that coexisted at the cemetery: the 
Relka type, characterized by plain comb impressions; 
and the Malget type, decorated with various figure 
stamps (Chindina 1977:61-64, 114). 

Comparison of the two types suggests that they 
are associated with different traditions. Whereas the 
Malget type is related to Ugrian figure-stamp pottery, 
the sources of the Relka type are apparently rooted 

in the local Bronze Age cultures. On the whole, the 
cemetery represents the culture of the ancient Selkup 
(Chindina 1977:137-140), and in all likelihood the 
combination of the two types of pottery reflects the 
process of fusion of Ugrian and Samoyedic cultural 
components that accompanied the formation of the 
Selkup ethnic group, or the Ostyako-Samoyeds, as 
they were called in the past. 

Vozhpay pottery resembles the Relka type, which 
is evident upon comparison of the vessels (Chindina 
1 977:figs. 12, 13, 28:3, 36). Early Vozhpay potter/ 
may have been a ware from the sixth or seventh 
century related to the Relka ceramics, i.e., associ- 
ated with the aboriginal cultures of the Ob-lrtysh 
interfluvial. As for a relationship with the comb-pit 
types— Vozhpay pots have designs with twin pits 
and interpenetrating triangles filled with pricked 
elements that resemble the pits in the triangular 
and diamond-shaped designs on vessels of the Late 
Bronze Age of the region. 

The persistence of that tradition was most clearly 
exemplified by a pot from the seventeenth-century 
Tiskinsk cemetery of the Selkup (Chindina 1975: 
tables 6, 9) as well as by vessels from the Turgaisk 
occupation site and the Kustovsk cemetery (Chindina 
1 970:table 11:1 , 4, 5). Thus, Vozhpay pottery displays 
characteristics that linked it to ancient Selkup ware 
and with sites with comb-pit ceramics from the late 
second millennium B.C. that were widespread in the 
eastern part of West Siberia from the Middle Irtysh 
to the polar regions and associated with ancient 
Samoyedic speakers (Khiobystin 1 969b: 1 34, 1 979a; 
Kosarev 1964:1 3, 1972:91, 1974:103, 1 54). Later on, 
based on these sites, the Elovo (twelfth though tenth 
centur/ B.C.), the Molchanovo (ninth through fifth 
century B.C.), and the Kulai (fifth century B.C. through 
fifth century A.D.) cultures developed on the Middle 
Ob, which are considered ethnically heterogeneous 
but retained a Samoyedic substrate. 

To what extent the medieval Late Samoyedic- 
speaking population of the Middle Ob region main- 
tained traditions rooted in the Bronze Age is an 



unanswered question. However, the integration of 
comb-pit and figure-stamp pottery traditions that 
was taking place in that region of West Siberia in the 
fifth century A.D. mirrored the centuries-old process 
of cultural unification of the Samoyedic-speaking 
and Ugrian ethnic groups. Viewed in this context, 
Vozhpay pottery appears to be a successor of the 
aboriginal Samoyedic traditions. I have suggested 
that the Samus tradition was also within the sphere 
of Samoyedic culture (Khiobystin 1969b), based on 
the comb-pit pottery from the Samus IV settlement, 
which was formerly regarded as part of Samus cul- 
ture but afterwards identified as Early Elovo ware 
(Posrednikov 1 970, 1 972, 1 973b). Sites with Vozhpay 
pottery represent a local culture that developed in 
the Ob-lrtysh region and spread down the Middle Ob 
and the rivers flowing from the Siberian highlands to 
the regions of West Siberia beyond the Arctic Circle 
and to the western part of Taymyr. The northward 
migration of the population representing that culture 
might have been caused by the penetration of the 
Turks and ancient Khanty as well as by the emergence 
of the Selkup. 

Since the existence of the Vozhpay culture in 
Northwest Siberia (ninth through tenth century) 
immediately preceded the presence of Samoyedic 
speakers here in the eleventh century recorded in 
the ancient chronicle "The Tale of Temporary Years" 
[Povest vremennykh let] (Adrianova 1 950:1 67, 1 97), 
the appearance of the Vozhpay culture beyond 
the Arctic Circle may be linked to the last wave of 
Samoyedic-speakers, who were the direct ancestors 
of the Nenets and Enets. 

Thus, the existence of Dyuna III, a Vozhpay cul- 
ture settlement on the FVasina River, in the ninth and 
tenth centuries attests to the arrival of a Samoyedic- 
speaking population, most likely the Enets, in 
western Taymyr. Descendants of the newly arrived 
groups merged with the aborigines and gave rise to 
"FVasidskaya Samoyed." Thus the Samoyedization 
of the indigenous population of the Pyasina Basin 
occurred before the seventeenth century and may be 

related to the forefathers of the Enets, as asserted 
by Dolgikh (1952:44). 

Two more aspects of the problem of the pen- 
etration of Samoyedic-speaking peoples beyond the 
Arctic Circle exist. First, no pottery later than that 
of Vozhpay is known in the West Siberian regions 
beyond the Arctic Circle that can be associated with 
the ancestors of the Nenets and Enets. In all prob- 
ability, the transition to tundra reindeer herding and 
a mobile way of life put an end to earthenware pro- 
duction. Vozhpay pottery showed no development on 
the Taymyr Peninsula either and there are no traces 
of its influence on Ust-Polovinka ware, a later pottery 
type on the peninsula. The reasons are apparently 
the same as noted above; however, the disappear- 
ance of ceramics precludes tracing the integration of 
imported and local cultures. Nevertheless, a certain 
continuity may be detected between pottery designs 
of the Vozhpay culture and the designs on clothing 
and other material culture of the Nganasan. 

Second, the lack of Vozhpay pottery on the 
Bolshezemelskaya and Malozemelskaya tundras 
would seem to indicate that the Nenets arrived there 
in an aceramic condition. However, these tundra 
regions have never been investigated by archaeolo- 
gists and the available archaeological material was 
collected from ruined dwelling sites where pottery 
was poorly preserved. Among the pottery of the early 
Anan'ino period collected at the ruined occupation 
site of Schelyabozh II, in the polar reaches of the 
Pechora, V. I. Kanivets identified sherds with a vessel 
neck decorated with comb impressions that formed 
an oblique band. Triangular design fields were filled 
with nail-shaped comb-stamp indentations (Kanivets 
1 974:55, fig. 27:1 6). [The vessel in question is highly 
fragmented and the designs are difficult to distin- 
guish —Ed.] Beneath the comb line at the bottom 
edge of the decorative band was a fringe-like pattern. 
This vessel resembles Vozhpay pottery in all its par- 
ticulars. Conceivably, the vessel is the first evidence 
of the penetration of the Vozhpay culture to the far 
northeast of the European territory of the USSR. 



1 68/ Honyaku Turdagin, elderly Nganasan hunter and artist from the village of Ust-Avam, western Taymyr, 
1 997. He wears a traditional Nganasan reindeer parka and headdress and is shooting a bow made of deco- 
rated antler. Photographer John Ziker. 

n arlij Economic and ^oc\a\ 

[development of ^atjmijr 

In colonizing tine polar region, human communi- 
ties adapted to the environment primarily through 
cultural change. Culture is a complex and multifunc- 
tional system; however two of its main objectives 
deserve special mention. Russian philosopher of 
culture Eduard S. Markarian once stated that culture 
"performs its functions in two principal aspects: in the 
aspect of the interplay between society (as a collective 
subject of action) and the physical environment, and 
in the aspect of interrelations of human individuals 
proper, by suitably regulating, coordinating, and 
directing their actions towards achieving certain 
socially significant goals" (1 969:30). 

By studying human history through traces of 
human activity, archaeology deals primarily with the 
evolution of culture through chronological types. 
Such types reflect the lifeways of societies as they 
adapted to ecological conditions. Although the 
archaeologist has at his or her disposal very frag- 
mentary components of past cultures, the purpose 
of archaeological study is to utilize all available mate- 
rial as fully as possible to model past cultural and 
historical systems. 

Initially, attempts to model social relations in 
ancient societies were made by archaeologists draw- 
ing on ethnographic evidence of contemporary tribal 
(or, as they were once called, "primitive") peoples. 
Until now, such evidence has remained an important 
source for reconstructions, with almost all archae- 
ologists availing themselves of ethnographic terms. 
However, the accelerating accumulation of archaeo- 

logical evidence now provides an independent source 
for the study of past cultures. For example, material 
obtained from excavated burial grounds does not 
always relate directly to ethnographic observations. 

Contemporary groups of tribal hunters, gatherers 
and fishers, or those practicing simple forms of agri- 
culture or cattle breeding and therefore regarded as 
"primitive," manifest a multitude of social structures. 
Depending on physiographic conditions, one and the 
same economic system may be associated with differ- 
ent forms of social organization. In the Neolithic, for 
example, there were many forms of social organiza- 
tion, which I have discussed elsewhere (Khiobystin 
1972a). It is obvious that many "primitive" social 
systems have not survived to the present time. 

An archaeological source of information on 
social organization, meager as it may be, must be 
free of a priori introduced ethnographic assump- 
tions. However, assumptions must be made in order 
to verify the validity of conclusions drawn from 
archaeological material. In reconstructing ancient 
social structure, a critical approach is needed at each 
of its three stages: in drawing conclusions about 
economy and social structure from archaeological 
material (determining to what extent the material 
may be used for a specific purpose); in drawing 
ethnographic analogies (determining which are 
consistent with archaeological data); and in synthe- 
sizing final conclusions (identifying contradictions 
between archaeological and ethnographic evidence 
and their possible interpretation). Special attention 


needs to be given to ecology since it is at the root of 
tlie relationsliip between tine pliysical environment, 
economic activity, and social structure. 

In modeling the social system of ancient societ- 
ies, ethnographic analogies should be selected on 
the basis of similar environmental conditions. It 
is still better if use is made of material relating to 
ethnic groups supposedly descended from such 
communities, for such ethnic groups may retain 
traces of a more ancient social structure. Economic 
and social modeling on the basis of archaeological 
material in the Arctic has advantages over similar 
reconstructions based on archaeological finds from 
other regions of North Eurasia, since in the polar 
regions reconstructions can be more readily corre- 
lated with appropriate ethnographic evidence. The 
indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic have retained in 
their economy and mode of life many traits rooted 
deeply in the past. 

In this region with a very rigorous climate, eco- 
logical changes were taking place that were most 
conspicuous at the end of the Sub-Boreal period, a 
time of marked deforestation and expansion of the 
tundra zone. Ancient arctic peoples were in contact 
with their southern neighbors, who exerted cultural 
influence. In elucidating the changes in the economy 
and social system of the peoples of the Far North and 
in differentiating those changes according to their 
historical determinants, strong emphasis should be 
placed on investigating sites of different epochs in 
remote polar regions and comparing the findings 
with corresponding ethnographic material collected 
from the indigenous inhabitants. 

Of interest in this context is the comparison of 
the economy and social system of the Nganasan 
of northern Taymyr with the economic and social 
observations resulting from the work of the Polar 
Expedition. The expedition investigated culturally 
and chronologically different sites, which makes it 
possible to review the data with reference to long- 
term historical and cultural change. I shall use the 
material obtained by the expedition as a source of 

information on the economy, mode of life, and social 
organization of the ancient inhabitants of Taymyr, 
giving first a general survey of their manifestations 
at various stages of their history and then dealing 
with some specific aspects of economy, spiritual life, 
and social structure. 

Settlement Patterns and 
Social Organization 

Judging from the osteological material found in occu- 
pation deposits throughout the entire prehistory of 
Taymyr, the economy of these ancient societies was 
based primarily on wild reindeer [caribou] hunting, 
supplemented by bird hunting. Fishing certainly 
also occurred during the Bronze Age. Bones of small 
fish have been found at the Ymiyakhtakh dwelling 
site of Abylaakh I, in different cultural layers at 
Ust-Polovinka, and at Dyuna III. Taymyr inhabitants 
may also have fished during the Palaeolithic, but no 
evidence has been discovered thus far. In contrast 
to the taiga regions of Siberia lying farther south, no 
net sinkers or fishing hooks have been found at the 
sites in the Taymyr region. The fragments of a bone 
harpoon found in Dwelling I at Ust-Polovinka of the 
Pyasina culture comes from a tool for catching large 
fish. We can only presume that weirs, traps, and nets 
were also used for small fish. Small nets could have 
been utilized with pebble sinkers similar to those 
found at Maimeche IV. 

Andrei A. Popov (1 948:45) noted that the histori- 
cal Avam and Vadeev tribes of the Taymyr Nganasan, 
who were primarily hunters, spared little time for 
fishing, which requires a more settled way of life. 
Similarly, fishing was of minor importance to the 
ancient population of Taymyr; they relied upon hunt- 
ing wild reindeer [caribou], which supplied both food 
and skins, vital necessities in the North. Fishing was 
a last resort, when no meat could be obtained. At the 
end of the first and in the early part of the second 
millennium A.D., decorations shaped like fish were 
common in West Siberia, on the Taz River in particular 
(Khiobystin and Ovsiannikov 1973:252). However, 



they failed to appear on the Taymyr Peninsula, 
although other West Siberian metal decorations 
were used by the ancestors of the Nganasan, and 
the custom of wearing such objects has sun/ived to 
this day. This lends support to the inference that the 
economy of the ancestors of the Nganasan depended 
on fishing to a lesser degree than did the ancient Ob 
Ugrian people. 

The vital role played by wild reindeer or caribou 
hunting is indicated by the composition of tools 
intended mainly for hunting and butchering. The 
usual finds at the sites are arrowheads and scrapers 
for dressing hides. No large points suitable for use as 
spearheads occur at the sites, and points that could 
have been used as javelins rarely occur. Naturally, 
the conclusion is that hunting with bow and arrows 
was predominant. However, it is possible that spears 
were in use, as noted by Simchenko (1 976:1 07). The 
sole spearhead comes from the Lake Dyupkun area 
where, since Mesolithic times, taiga-type vegetation 
has dominated and, therefore, moose {Alces alces) 
and bear hunting requiring heavier weapons could 
be pursued. 

Caribou hunting determined the location of tem- 
porary dwelling sites. The majority of permanent 
settlements or sites repeatedly used by members 
of different cultures are concentrated on the banks 
of large rivers near the seasonal migration routes of 
caribou herds. Thus, the greatest number of dwelling 
sites on the FVasina River were in the area between 
the Polovinka and Chernaya streams. On the Kheta 
River, a large group of occupation sites was discov- 
ered on the right bank between the former village of 
Polkino, where the Kheta meanders in a southeasterly 
direction, and the mouth of the Maimeche River. 
Numerous dwelling sites are located on the right 
bank of the Khatanga River between the mouths of 
the Malaya Balakhnya and Popigay rivers. (The banks 
of the Khatanga downstream from the Popigay remain 
unsurveyed.) At the above-mentioned places on the 
Pyasina and the Kheta, I myself watched large herds of 
caribou swimming across the rivers in late August. 

According to the indigenous residents of the vil- 
lage of Novorybnoe, in the recent past, after freeze- 
up, large caribou herds crossed the Khatanga River 
on their way south at a place where a cluster of sites 
has been discovered. This information is in agree- 
ment with observations on wild reindeer migration 
routes in Taymyr reported by Geller and Borzhnov 
(1975). As a rule, herds keep to their established 
routes in spring and autumn, rarely diverging from 
their customary paths. The routes taken by the herds 
are determined by the topography and hydrography 
of the region. The location of ancient sites on pres- 
ent migration routes proves that such routes have 
remained unchanged since time immemorial, at least 
since the end of the third millennium B.C. when the 
forest formations on the Taymyr Peninsula were 
being replaced by tundra and new ecological condi- 
tions were developing. In all likelihood this was the 
time when the Taymyr tundra caribou population 
was emerging. 

The distribution of sites over the river network 
suggests the possible existence of two population 
groups— southern and northern. This hypothesis 
requires investigation of archaeological sites on the 
Upper Taymyra River. According to the information 
supplied by Dolgikh and by some Nganasan, there 
are a number of ancient sites on the right, south- 
ern, shore of the Upper Taymyra River between 
the mouths of the Gorbita and Logata rivers at the 
southward turn of the river. In autumn, returning to 
the south, caribou swim across the river to the right 
bank, making it a rewarding place to hunt. Most 
of the sites on the Kheta River are situated on the 
southern bank. On the Dudypta and Novaya rivers 
in the Upper Taymyr-Kheta interfluvial, some sites 
were discovered on the northern banks where caribou 
come out during spring migrations. Some small sites 
are located in the interfluvial area. 

The northern population group may have hunted 
on the Upper Taymyra River in the autumn and win- 
tered there. In spring they would move south to the 
Dudypta and the Novaya rivers where they met herds 



of caribou moving north to escape the flies. The 
southern groups hunted in autumn and wintered on 
the Kheta and Khatanga rivers. In the summer, small 
groups occupied the interfluvial areas, presumably 
hunting for single caribou and molting geese. This 
phenomenon could be observed as late as the early 
twentieth century among the Nganasan reindeer 
herders, who formed the northern group, and the 
Dolgan making their seasonal moves farther south 
(Dolgikh 1963:95). 

In the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic when the 
area was dominated by forest vegetation, sites were 
not so closely linked to large rivers and points where 
caribou herds crossed them. The location of Tagenar 
VI, Lantoshka II, Glubokoe I, and some other sites of 
that period away from present migration routes may 
be explained by the use of other hunting methods, 
one of which was stalking. Such methods were also 
employed in later times as indicated by temporary 
camps on lakes and small streams where large-scale 
hunting was impossible. Such sites are located in 
places frequented by small herds ranging over the 
tundra. In the vicinity of Lake Labaz, a number of 
sites were discovered on a narrow divide between 
the lakes used by caribou in bypassing the lakes. 
The place abounds in paths trodden by caribou over 
the years. 

There were few sites on the lakes in the Putorana 
Mountains, and on the torrential rivers flowing out of 
the lakes no traces of any ancient settlements were 
found at all. Those lakes and rivers are good fisher- 
ies, but caribou hunting here is difficult, as the herds 
graze on plateau summits. 

The oldest Mesolithic sites of Taymyr yielded small 
quantities of artifacts distributed over limited areas. 
For example, at Tagenar VI, with its undisturbed 
cultural layer, there were traces of human activity 
around a fire. Two hundred and eighty-nine tools, 
blades, and other artifacts, including tiny flakes, were 
found within an area of some forty square meters. 
One hundred and three artifacts were recovered from 
the cultural layer at Pyasina I; considering that some 

1 74 

of the finds had been displaced down the talus slope, 
the area of their distribution is estimated to be 20 
square meters. 

At the other Mesolithic sites, correlations between 
the number of finds and their distribution area are 
more reliable because the artifacts were discovered 
on sizeable wind-eroded spots. The correlations are 
as follows: at Pyasina IV, seventy objects on 40 to 50 
square meters; at Lantoshka II, twenty-seven objects 
on 1 50 square meters; at Point 1 of Pyasina III, fifteen 
objects on 10 to 1 5 square meters; and at Point 2, 
thirty-one objects on 1 5 to 20 square meters. All 
this evidence indicates that these were temporary 
sites used by small groups with a mobile way of life. 
Judging from the faunal remains at Tagenar VI, they 
were primarily caribou and bird hunters. The hunters' 
equipment included bows and arrows as well as light 
composite hunting and game-processing tools. 

The Early Neolithic inhabitants of the Taymyr 
Peninsula continued to live the life of mobile hunters 
organized in small groups. Their sites, such as the 
lower layers of Abylaakh I and Glubokoe I, are small 
in area and have few traces of activity. The appear- 
ance of pottery does not indicate a sedentary way 
of life, as the pots were small and would not have 
hindered movement. There was only one broken pot 
at each of the sites. Obviously, pottery was not in 
wide use. In the Early Neolithic, as in Mesolithic times, 
Taymyr hunters camped in summer in temporary 
dwellings— the expansion of forest vegetation was 
a favorable factor— and in winter, they lived in sea- 
sonal semi-subterranean sod houses. In shape and 
composition, tools are similar to Mesolithic artifacts 
and occur rarely at sites. 

The folklore of the historical Enets and Nganasan 
people includes a series of myths and stories about 
the distant past. One of the myths opens with 
the words: "At first men had only bows" (Dolgikh 
1976:1 53). Such stories are called derechu by the 
Enets and dyurume or khyunsere dyurume by 
Nganasan, meaning "old accounts." In some dyurume 
or derechu, the main character is a hunter, morinde or 


morinchi in Nganasan and morede in Enets (Dolgikh 
1 961 , 1 976). Hunters sought caribou by stalking or 
battue (barricade or ambush hunting) techniques. 

The hunter's group, according to traditional folk- 
lore, usually consisted of a two-generation family; 
sometimes another family joined it for collective hunt- 
ing. The dwelling of the hunter was a small portable 
tent (choom), which could be moved on a sledge, or 
a stationary structure with a conical shape, built of 
poles made of tree trunks and covered with moss (Fig. 
169a). Presumably, the lifeway of mormrfe was much 
the same as that of the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic 
inhabitants of the Taymyr Peninsula. Nganasan and 
Enets culture has partially retained the traditions of 
the pre-reindeer herding period. 

I once saw the remains of a dwelling apparently 
similar to a permanent mohnde structure at the 
Developed Neolithic Maimeche I site [many Russian 
archaeologists adhere to a tripartite division of the 
Neolithic into Early, Developed, and Late —Ed.]. The 
site is located on a small projecting spot on a high 
terrace. The cultural layer covered an area of 50 to 
60 square meters. A few meters from the edge of the 
terrace was a round pit measuring 1 .3 to 1 .5 meters 
in diameter with fairly low, steep walls. It may be 
interpreted as the foundation of a semi-subterranean 
dwelling, a golomo-v^pe structure or, as the Nganasan 

call it, mou sia koru ("ground hole house") or satu ma 
("mud choom" or "earthen choom"; Fig. 1 69b). 

During their work in the Kheta River basin, mem- 
bers of the Polar Expedition repeatedly encountered 
deserted or dilapidated golomos. In 1967, on the 
Tagenar River, I saw a ruined golomo that was barely 
two meters in diameter. On the Kheta River, near the 
Boyarka settlement and upstream from Katyryk vil- 
lage in the Polkino area, as well as in other places, 
there are larger deserted golomos mth diameters of 
up to 3.5 meters. Most of the golomos are located on 
high banks and on level ground cleared of turf in an 
environment reminiscent of the Maimeche I site. As a 
rule they had no hearth pits. I saw a golomomth a pit 
like the one at Maimeche I on the Avam River down- 
stream from the present village of Ust-Avam. It was 
built by a Dolgan named Afanasy Sokhatin, born in 
1 899. Sokhatin occupied the house for several years. 
In 1 969, he told me that "it is a very warm dwelling. 
Down the Kheta many such structures were built 
in the past and they are still there. Our forefathers 
used to build in this way." More often than not, such 
structures were erected near fishing sites, such as 
deep lakes that never freeze to the bottom. 

Sokhatin's golomo, which is no longer preserved, 
was a typical structure of the kind described here. 
The golomo had an oval pit that narrowed toward the 

169/ Reconstructions of Native Siberian dwellings: (a) Choom-st//e winter dwelling (Levin and Potapov 
1961 : 208, fig. 6); (b) frame of the golomo-5r//e dwelling (Levin and Potapov 1961:223, fig. 2). 



exit and faced east. The greatest diameters of the 
pit were 3.1 and 3.4 meters and the greatest depth, 
where a fire was made, was 0.4 meters. At the rear 
and side walls was a step-like banquette, 0.2 meters 
high, supporting six logs with boards laid on them, 
so that opposite the entrance and on the sides were 
three plank beds. Fifty-eight larch trunks formed a 
cone over the pit, with the butt ends resting on the 
ground around the pit. The cone frame consisted of 
four trunks about 2.6 meters in length. At the top 
of the one that stood to the left of the entrance was 
a slot holding the hewn top of the trunk resting on 
the opposite edge of the pit. Two othertrunks leaned 
against the joint, their ends shaped to secure a bet- 
ter fit. These four trunks were the main supporting 
elements of the structure. 

About 20 centimeters below the joint, the trunks 
were fastened together with cross-pieces forming a 
quadrangle. Sixty centimeters lower were three more 
cross-pieces. On the side of a cross-piece was a pole 
with a hook to hang a pot or a tea kettle over the 
fire. Leaning against the upper cross-pieces were the 
other trunks placed close to one another with butt- 
ends around the pit and forming the ^o/omo walls. A 
smoke hole was left between the upper cross-pieces. 
An opening 0.7 meters wide at the bottom and 0.45 
meters at the top was left between the stakes to serve 
as a doorway. The side posts over the entrance were 
connected by cross-pieces that boarded up the open- 
ing above the door. A threshold made of a thick trunk 
kept the pit wall from crumbling. In ancient times the 
entrance was presumably closed with a hide. This 
particular golomo had a plank door upholstered with 
a reindeer skin and opened from the inside. There 
was a small window to the right of the entrance. The 
outside cone of the golomo was covered with pieces 
of turf laid grass-side down along the posts. The turf 
layer was thicker at the base of the structure. The 
height of the golomo was 1 .7 meters above ground 
and 2.1 meters inside. A man of middle stature could 
stand erect at the plank-beds. Such a dwelling could 
house a family of six people. Indeed, Sokhatin's 

golomo had some innovations but, basically, its con- 
struction was profoundly traditional. 

The dwelling at Maimeche I must have been funda- 
mentally similar to Sokhatin's golomo, and its pit cor- 
responded to the hearth pit of the golomo I observed. 
The true size of the Maimeche house, allowing for 
the plank beds, could be as much as three meters in 
diameter, or seven square meters. The lower part of 
the pit had a layer of thin charcoal lenses that alter- 
nated with loam, which could have formed as a result 
of the seasonal occupation of the dwelling. 

Fragments of at least six pots of the same type 
were found at the site. Some of the vessels were large, 
which made it difficult to carry them, and apparently 
they were left at the site when it was vacated. The 
season when the dwelling was in use may be ascer- 
tained from the following facts: polished tools were 
made at the site from flinty slate pebbles encountered 
on the tow path along the banks of the Kheta River 
near the site. The tow path is free of water in August. 
Thus, inhabitants could have collected pebbles at the 
end of summer and worked them during the winter. 
The fact that the dwelling was vacated in the summer 
is also indicated by loam bands in the pit fill. Such 
bands could form as a result of the crumbling and 
washed-in earth from the turf cover of the dwelling, 
which could not have occurred during the winter. If 
the dwelling had been in use in summer, when the 
pit was being filled with loam, the latter would have 
been mixed with charcoal particles from the fire. 

Maimeche I and IV are located on the right bank 
of the Kheta River where caribou herds return from 
the north in autumn. Apparently, inhabitants of these 
sites, after hunting caribou, wintered here in semi- 
permanent dwellings, made tools, and led a more 
mobile way of life during the spring and summer. 
The group that inhabited the dwelling was small, but 
economically independent based on the following: 
the site was repeatedly visited for years; the broken 
pots are few in number; and the site area allowed 
for only one dwelling that housed no more than five 
to seven people. 



All the above concerning Maimeche I also applies 
to Maimeche IV, except that Maimeche IV probably 
had no pit. The two sites could hardly have been in 
use at the same time. The distance between them is 
not far enough to suggest that they could be occu- 
pied by two independent groups, but was too great 
for the groups to be united by a common economy. 
There are spots between the sites convenient for 
erecting dwellings, as evidenced by two settlements 
(Maimeche II and III) discovered here that are asso- 
ciated with other cultures. Maimeche I and IV may 
have been occupied sequentially by the same group 
of hunters exploiting the area. 

Among the folklore notes of Dolgikh (1 952:82, 83; 
1974:48) and Gurvich (1977:157-162) are legends 
about the so-called Mayat, an ancient ethnic group 
that lived in the Khatanga, Anabar and Olenek Basins. 
The Mayat were probably associated with the group 
called the Vanyad [or Vanadyr in the early Russian 
records (Dolgikh 1952, 1962:235-244) —Ed.]. The 
Vanyad were reportedly the Tungus of Yukagir origin, 
who later became part of the Vadeev Nganasan tribe 
(Dolgikh 1 952, 1 974). The Mayat were hunters who 
took caribou at their river crossings; they practiced 
barricade hunting and used traps. Caribou were col- 
lectively hunted and the meat was placed in a store 
or concealed in a pit in the ground. Near the store 
the Mayat would build a semi-subterranean golomo 
where they lived during the winter. Golomos were 
located one day's walk from each other. The material 
culture of that legendary people is in some respects at 
variance with archaeological evidence. For instance, 
the Mayat reportedly had no knowledge of ceramics, 
although pottery of different time periods was found 
in the region they inhabited. According to folklore, 
the Mayat had no nets; they caught fish with weirs in 
the streams and scooped the catch onto the bank. 

The relationship between the size of dwellings 
and settlements and the number of their inhabitants 
is of great importance for estimating the number and 
composition of Taymyr's ancient groups. The type of 
dwelling is determined by both ecological and social 


factors; there is no uniform "quota" of floor space that 
could be assigned to each member of a group. Floor 
space varies with ecological conditions and economic 
strategies. Moreover, it depends upon material avail- 
ability and house-building traditions. 

Unfortunately, there is no ethnographic evidence 
of the number of people that occupied separate 
golomos, though mention is made in folklore of a 
golomo housing a two-generation family. We may 
make use of the data on the number of dwellers in 
a traditional reindeer herder's choom since its size, 
on average, corresponds to that of the golomo, tak- 
ing into account the length of posts used in building 
these two types of similar dwellings. In contrast to 
the golomo, every time a choom is set up, its floor 
area may change due to the pitch of the posts. 
According to the data given by Popov (1948:79), a 
Nganasan choom could range from 2.5 to 9 meters 
in diameter; its floor area thus measured between 5 
and 60 square meters. I usually encountered chooms 
of about 4 meters in diameter (approximately 13 
square meters); these chooms housed from two to 
eleven people, including children. The usual number 
appears to have been six to seven people. On aver- 
age, there were 3 to 3.5 square meters of floor space 
for each inhabitant. I encountered cases when the 
choom was occupied by one or two families as sepa- 
rate economic units. However, these were hunter- 
fisher groups. The choom of Nganasan reindeer 
herders could house from two to five families (Popov 
1948:84). Dolgikh (1974:27) observed that there 
were also large chooms that each accommodated 
four families of five to six people— up to twenty-five 
inhabitants total. The occupation of one choom by 
several families may be explained by the need to 
have a large number of herders, by the irksome task 
of transporting and setting up many chooms due to 
frequent moves, and by the difficulty of finding fuel 
for several separate hearths in the tundra. 

Based on the data on both small and extended 
aboriginal families in the seventeenth-century records 
collected by Dolgikh (1974), small families of up 

1 77 

to eight people, were encountered among hunters 
and fishers possessing small reindeer herds. As 
a rule, such families occupied separate chooms. 
Large families, as well as groups of several families 
that occupied one choom, were common among 
people owning larger herds. Small group size may 
also be inferred from the epic legends of the Nenets 
(Kupriianova 1 965). According to our observations, 
dwellings at Maimeche I and at Mesolithic and 
Neolithic sites, not only in Taymyr but throughout 
the Arctic from the White Sea to Chukotka, belonged 
to small groups. Small families, as independent eco- 
nomic units, were probably typical of arctic hunter- 
fishers. Such small families consisting of a husband 
and wife, two or more children, and members of an 
older generation, or between five and eight people in 
all, were economic units capable of an independent 
existence. This kind of family could have occupied 
the small structure on a site like Maimeche I. 

Societies consisting of such families were adapted 
for living under rigorous conditions, exploiting 
the natural resources of the wide expanses of the 
Arctic. Such societies were in existence during the 
Bronze and Iron Ages as well, until the appearance 
of a pastoral economy based on large-scale reindeer 
herding. Breeding and herding, as well as fishing 
and sea-mammal hunting, required collective effort, 
promoted consolidation of families and increases 
in family size. The available archaeological material 
on the Palaeolithic in Taymyr does not indicate that 
communal hunting occurred. 

The earliest sites of the Bronze Age are associ- 
ated with the Ymiyakhtakh culture and Abylaakh 
I, conspicuous for its size and the abundance of 
artifacts due to its location on the fail caribou migra- 
tion route. While excavating the site in late August 
and early September, we could see large herds of 
caribou crossing the Kheta River near the site and 
following the valleys of the Abylaakh River and the 
stream on which the site promontory lies. The cari- 
bou slowly passed by us as we hid just a few meters 
away. Indeed, hunting in this season could have been 

rewarding even with basic weapons. A large number 
of animals could be caught by putting up a fence 
in the uppef part of the stream valley. Inhabitants 
of the nearby village of Katyryk hunted caribou by 
shooting the animals from boats when the reindeer 
were swimming across the river. 

We were not surprised to find large concentrations 
of rotting organics in the cultural layer where bone 
and antler accumulations had formed. The presence 
of about sixty heavily worn scrapers proves that many 
hides had been dressed at the site. This evidence sug- 
gests that the main trade of the site inhabitants was 
the hunting of migrating caribou. Apparently, they 
chose the site for their camp in a secluded place in 
the interior of the promontory, hidden from the river 
crossed by caribou herds, rather than at its point. The 
density of materials in the cultural layer and traces 
of chronologically different hearths prove that the 
site was used repeatedly, rather than for only one 
season. Presumably, the dwellings were built on the 
ground; no traces of pits were encountered. Just as 
the inhabitants of the Maimeche sites could produce 
stone tools after laying in a store of food after autumn 
hunting, so too could the inhabitants of Abylaakh 
turn to bronze casting after caribou hunting. 

There are also Ymiyakhtakh sites with small occu- 
pation areas and few artifacts located away from cari- 
bou migration routes, such as Zayachya, Kholodnaya 
II, and Paiturma IV. In all likelihood they were 
temporary occupations belonging to small groups 
that hunted individual caribou during the summer. 
Pyasina V, with two artifact accumulations, could be a 
seasonal settlement used on an annual basis. Artifact 
accumulations measuring 1 5,030 square meters in 
area were found at the Kylkai and Ivanovskaya sites. 
On the wind-eroded surface of Ivanovskaya, three 
accumulations were discovered stretching in rows 
along the edge of an ancient bank rising 3 to 4.5 
meters above the tundra. The accumulations were 
associated with charcoal and charred hearth stones 
spaced 1 5 to 20 meters apart. The accumulations at 
Pyasina V, Kylkai, and Ivanovskaya are conceivably 



traces of surface dwellings, probably dating to dif- 
ferent periods. However, if contemporaneous, they 
bear witness to some small groups joining forces for 
collective seasonal hunting. 

Such small and mobile communities of ancient 
tundra hunters were probably emerging after the 
completion of the tundra formation process and the 
appearance of permanent caribou migration routes. 
Indeed, the joining of families also occurred in the 
Palaeolithic, but was due to other factors. Small fami- 
lies could not exist permanently separated from one 
another. They had to come into temporary contact 
in order to contract marriages, carry out joint sub- 
sistence activities, and fight enemies. An important 
factor promoting alliance was mutual assistance: 
families finding themselves in trouble due to unsuc- 
cessful hunting or to the loss of a hunter could join 
the family of a more successful man, most likely 
a relative. Such social and economic relationships 
among small families within a given territory resulted 
in the emergence of a distinctive social body that was 
neither clan nor tribe, and which we can call a sort 
of incipient ethnic group. 

Within these little independent communities, 
most probably represented by small families, spe- 
cific social relationships were developing. Provision 
of subsistence needs was the concern of one or two 
men, whereas treatment of the catch, housekeeping 
duties, and the care of children were the tasks of 
women. The clear-cut distribution of these equally 
important duties according to gender roles and 
responsibilities gave no social advantages to either 
half of society. The small family facilitated a bilateral 
definition of kinship; fatherhood was of strictly social 
origin, based on the treatment of children as part of a 
certain hunter's household. The bilateral character of 
the Nganasan exogamous clan system is interpreted 
as a transitional form from the unilateral maternal 
to the unilateral paternal system, which arose as a 
result of changes in the economic structure, i.e., 
the development of reindeer herding (Gurvich and 
Dolgikh 1970:210). 

We believe that the small family structure was 
characteristic of the Nganasan in the past, as is dem- 
onstrated by both archaeological and ethnographic 
evidence; the latter indicates that large families are 
associated with the development of reindeer herd- 
ing (Dolgikh 1974). Thus, the phenomenon of the 
Nganasan bilateral kinship system may be explained 
as the preservation of an old social structure that 
originated during a period of smaller families. 
Simchenko (1 976:1 93, 386) argued that small social 
units (families or groups of families) of Taymyr cari- 
bou hunters in the past, some of Nganasan ancestry, 
were dispersed over a large territory and that their 
temporary associations were unstable. 

The appearance of bronze casting on the Taymyr 
Peninsula, ascertained on the basis of material from 
Ymiyakhtakh sites, brought about changes in the eco- 
nomic relations among ancient groups. Such changes 
must have been particularly pronounced among 
members of Pyasina and Malokorenninsk culture 
groups, where bronze casting was well developed. In 
modeling their way of life, I examine the possibility 
that traditions introduced by their ancestors from 
West Siberia were presen/ed. 

One of these traditions concerns the construction 
of dwellings that differ from those of ancient and 
modern ethnic groups of the Taymyr Peninsula- 
round c^oow-like structures that are characteristic 
of ancient dwellings from West Siberia. At a Pyasina 
culture settlement at the mouth of the Polovinka 
River, quadrangular-shaped pits of four dwellings 
were found. The three fairly well-preserved pits 
measured 22, 23, and 27 square meters. In order 
to determine the number of inhabitants of one such 
dwelling, we shall assume that the average floor area 
allotted to each dweller was 3.5 square meters, while 
acknowledging that the occupants of rectangular. 
West Siberian dwellings could have had a different 
space "quota." Each semi-subterranean dwelling 
could have housed five to six people— a small family. 
This does not necessarily mean that the population 
of the settlement consisted of four families totaling 



twenty to twenty-five people, as there is no reliable 
evidence that all of the dwellings were occupied 
simultaneously. However, the arrangement of the 
structures in a certain order, with roughly equal dis- 
tances between them, suggests that it was a settle- 
ment, rather than a series of individual dwellings that 
existed at different points in time. 

House I at the Polovinka site was probably built 
before the other structures, was occupied for a longer 
time, and was destroyed by fire. Its floor stratigra- 
phy was similar to that of Maimeche I and attests 
to its seasonal occupation. The presence of nine 
broken pots, represented mostly by sherds, and the 
large size of some of the vessels, suggest that the 
house was used for a number of years. The dwelling 
resembles a structure used by Cherkaskul bronze 
casters excavated east of the South Ural Mountains 
(Khiobystin 1976:12-15, 46) in size, number of 
dwellers engaged in bronze casting, and even in the 
location of the broken vessels and the destruction 
of the dwelling by fire. 

The less numerous finds from the other dwellings 
suggest that they were occupied for a shorter period 
of time and were deserted. At some time, all three 
of the deserted houses may have been occupied, 
in which case the population of the settlement was 
about twenty people. There were bronze casters and 
smiths among them who produced large numbers 
of metal objects. At the same time, the inhabitants 
hunted and fished. The existence of such a large 
group could be due in part to the exchange of metal 
objects for hunting spoils. No copper ore or native 
copper has been discovered near the mouth of the 
Polovinka; no traces of smelting have been found 
at the settlement either. The metal was probably 
obtained through exchange or was smelted by the 
Polovinka inhabitants themselves somewhere nearby. 
For this purpose, some or all of the inhabitants had 
to leave their settlement for the summer and return 
to the mouth of the Polovinka River in autumn when 
the caribou migration began in order to lay in a store 
of food for the winter. 

The presence of vessels for melting metal and 
of bronze drops inside the dwellings supports the 
inference that bronze objects were manufactured 
during the winter. Most of the finds associated with 
bronze casting come from Dwelling I. Judging by the 
number of spouts, there were no less than twelve 
large crucibles there. The finds included at least 
three crucibles from Dwelling II, fragments of two 
vessels for melting and ladling bronze from Dwelling 
III, and thirty-four crucibles from Dwelling IV. Three 
meters east of Dwelling I there were traces of a fire 
where fragments of three crucibles were uncovered. 
Clearly, Dwelling I was the main work area of the 
bronze casters. 

The abundant evidence of bronze-casting activ- 
ity at Ust-Polovinka makes it expedient to discuss in 
some detail the development of metalwork on the 
Taymyr Peninsula. However, in concluding the section 
dealing with settlements as sources of information on 
the size and lifeways of their population, I shall first 
describe Iron Age sites. With the exception of Dyuna 
III, there are no large Iron Age settlements. 

The sites in question are small in size with few 
artifacts. No traces of stationary dwellings have been 
discovered so far, although structures of the golomo 
type must have been in existence. As with sites from 
earlier periods, Iron Age sites were discovered both 
on caribou migration routes and away from them. On 
the whole, they have the same features as short-term 
occupation sites dating to the Late Neolithic and the 
Bronze Age. Therefore, we can say with reasonable 
confidence that Iron Age settlements belonged to 
small groups of caribou hunters who also depended 
on fish and waterfowl. They led a semi-sedentary, 
seasonal way of life. 

The later Iron Age inhabitants of Taymyr pre- 
served many economic traditions and the social 
structure of earlier societies. The economic and social 
conservatism of the people was due to the fact that, 
despite cultural innovations such as the appearance 
of iron and possibly of early forms of reindeer herd- 
ing, their mode of life was governed by the same 



environmental conditions that had prevailed during 
the Late Neolithic and the Bronze Age. The optimal 
economic strategies for such conditions had been 
devised during the Neolithic and were pursued by 
the inhabitants of the region until they reached a 
turning point in their subsistence activities due to 
the transition to large-scale reindeer herding. 

Ancient hunting groups of the Taymyr Peninsula 
with a mobile way of life needed boats for crossing 
rivers where they hunted caribou swimming across 
streams or lakes with spears and, to a lesser degree, 
for fishing. The boats had to be light and easy to 
carry, move on a sledge, or drag over snow. However, 
in the tundra and forest-tundra there are no trees 
suitable for making dugouts, so what kind of boats 
could they use? 

Bits of pitch were encountered in large quanti- 
ties on wind-eroded spots in the cultural layers of 
Ust-Polovinka. Pieces of pitch were found at Pyasina 
I together with thin-ridged Ust-Polovinka-type pottery 
at Pyasina III, Pyasina IV, and Kapkannaya II. These 
finds date within a wide range: from the mid-first 
millennium B.C. to the eleventh century A.D. Most 
of the pieces are thin slices of pitch with birch-bark 
impressions on one side. Impressions of hair, prob- 
ably from a caribou pelt, remain on one of the pieces. 
Some have small triangular ridges. Other pieces 
preserve impressions of seams with traces of thick 
"thread"— most likely caribou sinew. Pitch was used 
for sealing up chinks and covering seams of wood- 
work, leather, and birch-bark objects, and possibly 
utensils. Its major application was in caulking birch- 
bark and leather boats. Boats made of hides were in 
wide use by inhabitants of the circumpolar region, the 
Nganasan included (Simchenko 1 976:1 35-1 51). 

Bronze Casting on the Taymyr Peninsula 

Since the early bronze-casting finds on the Taymyr 
Peninsula are associated with Ymiyakhtakh sites, met- 
alworking skills may have initially come from the Lena 
River Basin, where Ymiyakhtakh burial complexes 
containing bronze artifacts have been discovered. 

However, no traces of a bronze industry have been 
discovered so far in Yakutia [Sakha Republic]. The 
only exception is the Stary Siktyakh site located in 
the arctic reaches of the Lena River where Okladnikov 
(1 946:85-90) found two flat-bottomed crucibles and 
droplets of bronze in the charred remains of a hearth. 
The oval crucibles had flat bosses on the edge oppo- 
site the spout, which served as handles. The same 
layer contained Ymiyakhtakh artifacts. 

Mochanov and Fedoseeva have expressed the 
opinion that the Ymiyakhtakh tradition was a Late 
Neolithic culture. They associate the beginning of the 
Bronze Age in Yakutia with the Ust-Mil culture. Flat- 
bottomed crucibles with long thin handles have been 
discovered on some Ust-Mil sites. If bronze-casting 
technology did not reach the Arctic via South Yakutia, 
then it must have arrived via Evenkia [the Yenisey 
River Basin]. However, no early sites with evidence 
of bronze casting have been discovered in Evenkia, 
either. Similarities between the Seim-type celts of the 
Taymyr Peninsula and those from the Trans-Baikal 
region suggest that this part of south-central Siberia 
was the source of the bronze-casting technology that 
penetrated Taymyr and the arctic regions of Yakutia, 
via Evenkia and, possibly, northwest Yakutia. East 
Yakutia would thus remain on the fringes of the 
developing metal industry. 

The Ymiyakhtakh culture appears to have devel- 
oped just as the Glazkovo tradition did: from the 
Neolithic, it passed into a period when bronze-casting 
skills developed. In some regions, this transition may 
not have taken place until the development of the Ust- 
Mil tradition; Ymiyakhtakh people may have retained 
a Neolithic lifeway due to the lack of suitable local 
copper ores or because of their failure to obtain the 
metal from their neighbors through exchange. 

Was the Ymiyakhtakh culture a uniform tradi- 
tion during the expansion of the bronze industry? A 
variant of Ymiyakhtakh culture, or even a separate 
tradition within the Ymiyakhtakh cultural and histori- 
cal community may be distinguished in the Taymyr 
Peninsula and polar regions of Yakutia more so as 



the presence of local bronze casting eliminates the 
possibility that Taymyr sites containing waffle pottery 
date to the Neolithic. Sites in Taymyr, as with other 
arctic sites with waffle pottery, lack vessels with the 
incised ornamentation that is typical of Ymiyakhtakh 
tundra zone sites. 

The development of the prehistoric metal indus- 
try in the Taymyr polar region was due to local 
resources— rich copper ore deposits in the southern 
portion of the peninsula that were easily accessible. 
Thanks to work by geologists O.A. Diuzhikov and 
V. A. Fedorenko (Diuzhikov et al. 1 974), we can char- 
acterize the principal deposits that could have served 
as raw material sources for ancient metallurgists. 
The Norilsk I deposits are located in the northern 
part of Mount Rudnaya; they comprise a series of 
rich chalcopyrite veins up to ten meters thick and 
containing as much as 20% copper and 5% nickel. 
Located north of these veins is the Sotnikovskoe 
deposit of oxidized ores formed by argillaceous and 
carbonaceous clay slate saturated with malachite, 
azurite, and chalcopyrite admixtures; this deposit 
contains 0.32-0.41% copper and 0.16-0.31% nickel 
(Rozhkov 1933). 

In recent years, large stratified deposits of native 
copper have been discovered on the Kharaelakh 
Plateau associated with limestone seams up to five 
or six meters thick that occur in tufaceous horizons 
of volcanic strata or at points of contact between tuff 
and basalt. Some of the copper-containing horizons 
stretch for dozens of kilometers (Diuzhikov 1973; 
Diuzhikov et al. 1 974). The copper content in some 
places is close to 1%. One to five kilo specimens of 
native copper occur in some horizons. A specimen 
found on the Ondodomi River weighs about twenty- 
four kilos. The copper content of the native metal is 
99.43 to 99.65%. 

Scattered small deposits of native copper were 
noted east of the Kharaelakh Plateau as far as the 
Maimeche River Basin. This virtually unexplored ter- 
ritory may also have large deposits. The Sukharikha 
deposit of chalcosinbornite ores in the Igarka River 

area consists of a series of nested bodies of sulfides 
measuring up to 1.2 by 2.5 meters thick with a 
copper content of about 40%. The ores also contain 
silver up to 200 or 300 grams per ton— and are low 
in lead and zinc. 

Bronze objects and casting drops from the sites 
of Abylaakh I, Malaya Korennaya I, and the Ust- 
Polovinka settlement were analyzed at the Laboratory 
of Archaeological Technology of the Leningrad 
Branch of the Institute of Archaeology; spectral 
analysis was conducted at the laboratories of two 
other institutions. The materials were compared 
and then correlated with the results of analysis of 
the ore deposits. Bronze was alloyed with different 
materials at different sites. Tin was used at Abylaakh 
I, but arsenic and antimony at Malaya Korennaya 
I. The alloys at these two neighboring sites differ 
considerably in bismuth content. These variations 
may be due to chronological and cultural differences 
between the sites. The differences could also be due 
to the distances between the sites and ore deposits. 
Significant disparities are occasionally noted in the 
alloy composition of materials from the same com- 
plex. This is apparently due to the use of ores from 
different deposits, re-melting articles that were no 
longer usable, both locally produced and imported, 
and utilization of different additives in order to obtain 
alloys of various grades. 

Specimens from Ust-Polovinka have an abnor- 
mally high gold content, 0.01 to 0.05%. The gold was 
probably not contributed by the alloying elements 
because their volume was quite small. The copper 
ore is probably the source. Nickel content of 0.2 to 
0.5% suggests that the alloys contain copper from 
the Norilsk deposits. The ores from Norilsk I do not 
have a substantial gold component. Diuzhikov and 
Fedorenko (Diuzhikov et al. 1 974) are of the opinion 
that the metal comes from an unknown deposit of 
native copper and advocate geological survey in the 
vicinity of Ust-Polovinka. 

Many bronze specimens from Ust-Polovinka 
and Malaya Korennaya I have a high nickel content 



(0.5-1.5%), as high as that of the blister copper 
now produced from Norilsk ores (0.8-0.9%). Such 
alloys were made using copper from the deposits 
of Norilsk I. There were also bronze objects from 
both Ust-Polovinka and Malaya Korennaya I that con- 
tained scarcely any nickel, while the specimens from 
Abylaakh I had no appreciable nickel content at all. 

This analysis indicates ancient utilization of ores 
other than those from the Norilsk deposits. The 
inhabitants of Abylaakh could have been using the 
small copper deposits in the eastern part of Taymyr. 
Utilization of copper from the Sukharikha chalcosin- 
bornite ores is unlikely given the distant location of 
the deposit. Instead, native copper from the north- 
ern part of the Middle Siberian Plateau may have 
been used; the silver content of this copper deposit 
is comparable to that of the analyzed specimens. 
Support for this idea comes from the composition 
of Specimen 19 from Malaya Korennaya I; analysis 
indicates practically pure copper which, like the native 
copper of Arylakh, has very few impurities. 

At least three groups of elements can be identi- 
fied in the alloys: tin; arsenic and antimony; bismuth 
and lead. Arsenic and antimony probably came from 
the northern Taymyr Peninsula on the Tareya River. 
Tin could be obtained from the Indigirka River Basin 
where ore veins and placers contain cassiterite depos- 
its. Lead and bismuth were available from the Urals or 
the southern part of Central Siberia. Large deposits 
of lead are located in the Yenisey region. The use 
of metals from distant sources proves that Siberian 
bronze casters had established ties throughout the 
Taymyr polar region. 

The expansion of the Ymiyakhtakh culture in 
the region between the Taymyr Peninsula and the 
Indigirka River Basin apparently facilitated exchange 
relations and, as a result, Ymiyakhtakh people could 
obtain tin and the inhabitants of the Indigirka and 
intermediate regions were supplied with copper. 
Noteworthy is the location of the Stary Siktyakh site 
in northern Yakutia, with its bronze-casting workshop 
halfway between Taymyr and the Indigirka River. 

This is why the Abylaakh casters could use tin as an 
admixture in such high concentrations (7.8%) and the 
resulting alloys were high quality. Higher tin content 
may lead to liquation and segregation of the alloy 
on cooling. 

Arsenic and antimony use is characteristic of 
the Pyasina bronze-casting center. The use of such 
admixtures may be due to both cultural and historical 
factors, such as the development of metalworking 
skills and the use of a greater variety of admixtures, 
depending on the function of the articles, as well 
as to the lack of connections with the Indigirka tin 
deposits and the existing traditional links with West 
Siberian cultures. 

Chernykh (1 967) refined the terms for archaeo- 
logical "center" or " metalworking node" and delimited 
the ancient mining and metalworking areas of the 
[former] USSR. There is reason to add one more min- 
ing and metalworking region to his classification: the 
Taymyr Peninsula, with the Pyasina River and Taymyr- 
Northern Yakutia nodes. The Taymyr-Yakutia node 
was clearly associated with the Ymiyakhtakh culture 
and was probably founded upon using the Taymyr 
copper deposits and the Indigirka River tin deposits. 
Distinctive local objects were produced, e.g., a cast- 
ing matrix with an anthropomorphic figure. Both clay 
and stone molds were in use. Small, flat-bottomed 
crucibles with handles on the side opposite the spout 
were used for melting and ladling the metal. 

The Pyasina metal industry node was associated 
with the Pyasina and Malaya Korennaya cultures. 
Sources were ore and native copper deposits in the 
northwestern part of the Middle Siberian Plateau and, 
possibly, arsenic and antimony ores from the Tareya 
River Basin. Fragments of crucibles were frequently 
encountered at the Pyasina River sites and were abun- 
dant at Ust-Polovinka. A rather thriftless attitude to 
abundant metal is suggested by the numerous drops 
and pieces of bronze, and also by the presence of 
a large bronze ingot (weighing 73.1 grams) made 
of twisted thread-like filings that were cut from a 
finished product and thrown away. 



Comparison of the crucibles from Abylaakh I and 
Ust-Poiovinl<a suggests tliat tliere was an increase in 
the production of bronze by the mid-first millennium 
B.C. Whereas an Abylaakh 1 crucible could hold about 
fifteen cubic centimeters of melted metal, the average 
capacity of crucibles at Ust-Polovinka was 1 20 cubic 
centimeters. Dwelling I at Ust-Polovinka contained 
at least twelve crucibles. Assuming that each was 
used just once, the amount of bronze produced was 
at least 1440 cubic centimeters, or about fourteen 
kilos. This amount would have been enough to make 
1400 arrowheads, or 1 160 awls, or 700 knife hafts 
similar to those found at the site. With a Seim-type 
celt weighing on average 250 grams, fifty-six celts 
could have been manufactured. These calculations 
give a rough idea of the volume of bronze output of 
a site that consisted of just a single dwelling. The 
total output for the entire occupation of the Pyasina 
site at the mouth of the Polovinka River was about 
four times greater. 

Flat- and round-bottomed crucibles that differ 
markedly in shape from the East Siberia finds have 
analogies in West Siberia. In the middle reaches of 
the Ob River, at the Malget and Tukh-Emtor I and IV 
sites that date to the close of the second and the 
early part of the first millennium B.C., there were 
crucibles (Kiriushin and Maloletko 1979:102, fig. 
1 6) identical to the round-bottomed crucibles of Ust- 
Polovinka. They differed only in their smaller size. 
Collection Number 3626 gathered by I.S. Znamenski 
and now stored at the National Museum of Finland 
in Helsinki contains two flat-bottomed melting pots 
(Numbers 68 and 69), identified as West Siberian in 
origin and closely resembling in shape and size the 
Ust-Polovinka crucibles. Smaller flat-bottomed melt- 
ing pots were found during excavations of the Early 
Iron Age site at Mount Barsova (Barsovaya Cora) in the 
Surgut region of the Ob Basin. This is further evidence 
of the connection of the Pyasina culture with West 
Siberian traditions and of the southwestern origin of 
its metal industry. 

Bronze objects were cast in clay molds that were 
broken when removing the finished article. A clay 
core, a mushroom-shaped rounded bar, was found 
that was inserted into a celt mold to shape the internal 
cavity. Preserved in the core is a filling channel with 
two branching channels containing metal residues 
(Fig. 84: 1 ). A metal cast from Dwelling I, which struc- 
turally resembles the channels of the clay core, was 
apparently formed as a by-product of casting a celt. 
Judging by the rounded shape of the core, the celts, 
like those of the Seim type, had rounded sockets. 

The collection of ritual objects of the late Dolgan 
shaman A. N. Suslov from the village of Potapovo, now 
at the Tomsk Regional Museum (Collection Number 
4004/Ze GIK), contains a string of amulets and other 
cult objects thought to bring hunting luck. It includes 
a patinated bronze celt with a piece of wood or resin 
inside. The celt, hexahedral in cross-section, has a 
rounded socket, and the blade is broken off. The 
length of the artifact is 14 centimeters; width is 4.3 
centimeters, and the walls are about 1 millimeter 
thick. There is a ridge on the lateral rib near the 
socket, like that on the Baikal-type celts. This artifact 
is identified as a sheath; indeed, it resembles a sheath 
made of afolded copper sheet, similarto those used 
by Taymyr hunters until today. However, as far as 
we know, sheaths were not produced by casting. 
Possibly, the use of the artifact, which I regard as simi- 
lar to celts produced by bronze casters of the Pyasina 
tradition, was forgotten and then re-interpreted by 
later users. There is an old legend of the Yenisey River 
Enets people published by Dolgikh (1 962:1 10, 111) 
about finding an ancient copper axe near the village 
of Potapovo that became a ritual object. 

With the exception of the tetrahedral awl, com- 
mon in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages, the Ust- 
Polovinka bronze objects are unique. Their variability, 
the highly skilled execution, the complexity of the 
alloys, and the use of iron all indicate an advanced 
metal industry pointing to the presence among 
Ust-Polovinka's inhabitants of skilled smiths. In all 

1 84 CHAPTER 5 

likelihood, they produced metal objects not just 
for their own needs but also for exchange. In fact, 
the Ust-Polovinka site may be defined as a center of 
small-scale production of bronze objects intended 
for barter similar to the Cherkaskul bronze-casting 
workshop Lipovaya Kur'ya (Khiobystin 1 976:48). 

Even with the available copper deposits, bronze 
casting could not develop on the Taymyr Peninsula 
under the primitive-communal system because of 
the small size of the population and, consequently, 
a restricted market, to say nothing of the difficulties 
of providing food for a large number of smelters and 
casters excluded from daily hunting activities. Thus 
the subsistence economy hindered the development 
of a metal industry. It was only large-scale reindeer 
herding that could have contributed to the boom of 
bronze metallurgy, but it emerged on the Taymyr 
Peninsula only in the second half of the second mil- 
lennium A.D., and by this time enough metal was 
being supplied by neighboring indigenous groups. 

At both Abylaakh and Ust-Polovinka, metal 
articles were produced in association with ritual 
practice. Bronze casters made ritual objects primar- 
ily for their own use, performing rites presumably 
concerned with their work. In spite of the declining 
metal industry and the state of Nganasan smithcraft 
noted by Popov (1948:72) at the beginning of the 
twentieth century, the Nganasan were reputedly the 
best blacksmiths on Taymyr and preserved traces 
of rituals related to metalworking. There is a story 
by the Nganasan shaman Dyukhadie Kosterkin of 
how he became a shaman. A critical part of the story 
is related to a blacksmith who acted as one of the 
masters or deities, nguo, and who literally forged a 
good shaman out of Dyukhadie (Popov 1 936:90-93). 
judging by the story, the anvil, dedisys in Nganasan, 
was a cult object. 

Dyukhadie's son, Demnime Kosterkin, also a sha- 
man, told Gracheva in 1971 how he was turned into a 
shaman. He was forged by one of the principal deities 
whose name was "Stone-Father-Head" and who had all 

the attributes of a blacksmith (Gracheva, 1971 field 
diary, MAE Archives, Collection K-l, Inventory 2, No. 
978, pp. 42-44). The connection between metallurgy 
and shamanism has been noted in many Siberian eth- 
nic groups, the Yenisey Tungus in particular (Rychkov 
1 91 7:58). The stories of Nganasan shamans contain 
plots or motifs adopted from the Tungus, who con- 
tributed to the formation of the Nganasan. 

The ancient metalworkers of the Taymyr Peninsula 
probably attached particular importance to fire. The 
Nganasan never threw bones into a fire (Gracheva 
1 977:222); however, charred bones do occur in the 
ash deposits of Abylaakh and Ust-Polovinka. Quite 
frequently small bones are encountered stuck to the 
edges of crucibles. Bone charcoal, which conserves 
heat, would probably be heaped on crucibles con- 
taining molten metal. The association of bones with 
fires for melting metal in Yakutia was also noted by 
Okladnikov (1946:86; 1950b:92,93, 104). 

The casting of an anthropomorphic figurine 
at Abylaakh from a then-scarce metal was no less 
socially important to the craftsmen than the manu- 
facture of implements. The fact that the figurine has 
no definite attributes indicates that its owner could 
endow it with needed virtues. Apparently, its function 
was similar to that of the Nganasan sacred figurine, 
or koika, imbued with the ability to act of its own will 
(Gracheva 1 977:21 8; Popov 1 959). At the same time, 
a koika was an object of reverence. 

Of interest is the "eye" plate from Ust-Polovinka, 
which I consider to be a ritual object. One of the 
requisite details of shaman's dress is a cap with 
a fringe that covers the face and blindfolds the 
shaman. All the caps in the collections of the MAE 
in St. Petersburg, the Tomsk Regional Museum, 
and the Krasnoyarsk Regional Museum, as well as 
those that I saw worn by the Kosterkin Nganasan 
shaman family, had beads, rings or plates sewn on 
them that signified the "shaman's eyes." The Enets 
used to put a bandage over the shaman's eyes; the 
bandage contained images of the shaman's "eyes 



of the soul" capable of seeing what was going on in 
the other world (Prokof'ieva 1971:15, fig. 4). In all 
likelihood, the plate found at Ust-Polovinka served 
that particular purpose. 

When performing their rites, Nganasan shamans 
sometimes used wooden masks, two of which were 
found in 1971 by members of the Polar Expedition 
near the village of Ust-Avam and were described by 
Gracheva. In place of eyes, the masks have bulging 
copper plates. Since in all probability the masks were 
intended to cover the shaman's face, their "eyes" 
fulfilled the same function as those on the caps. 

The artifact could have served still another func- 
tion if interpreted as an eye. Some ancient peoples 
of Siberia and the Urals put a special mask with 
eyes over the face of the dead. Occasionally such 
"eyes" were made of metal. The Nganasan retain 
this custom. In excavating two seventeenth-century 
children's graves on the Golchikha River, I found 
beads in the eye sockets of the skulls, apparently 
from the "masks" that had covered the faces. The 
artifact from Ust-Polovinka may have served the same 
purpose, although the context is different. 

An antler beater was discovered at Abylaakh I, 
together with a mold for casting a figurine, which 
lends credence to the view that the object is a ritual 
drum beater. 

The propinquity of shamanic attributes of the 
objects found in association with bronze casting and 
interpreted as ritual items intended for communica- 
tion with spirits raises a series of questions con- 
cerning the development of shamanism among the 
ancient ethnic groups of North Siberia. The archaeo- 
logical evidence, especially that of certain burial com- 
plexes investigated by Okladnikov (1 955b:344-352; 
1976:10), suggests that many traits characteristic 
of shamanism existed among the peoples of Siberia 
since very early times. 

The complexity of ritual practice requires special 
investigation with extensive recourse to archaeo- 
logical and ethnographic evidence; thus, I confine 
myself only to providing some new perspectives, for 

example, on the Nganasan fire ritual, with its special 
emphasis on the female part of a community: to what 
extent was this a woman's ritual when fire served the 
needs of bronze casting? 

Another fascinating problem concerns the rela- 
tionship between representational imagery and the 
rituals of ancient and contemporary peoples of the 
North, the Taymyr Peninsula in particular. Besides 
the ornaments on vessels and the finds associated 
with bronze casting, the only evidence of that kind 
is the representation on a pot from Pyasina IV (Fig. 
141). Pots with representational imagery are rare in 
East Siberia and have been found only in the Trans- 
Baikal region. They depict anthropomorphic creatures 
(Okladnikov 1971b; Savel'ev and Goriunova 1971); 
snakes combined, as in the case of our find, with 
representations of crosses (Petri 1916); and fish 
and birds, apparently ducks (Khoroshikh 1 960). The 
extreme scarcity of such pots suggests that they 
were ritual utensils— the pot from Pyasina IV may be 
such an object. 

The Origins of Reindeer Herding in 
Western Siberia and Taymyr 

The impressive size of the house structure at Dyuna 
III (ca. 3 50 square meters) and the large number of 
pots found in it require a different approach to the 
problem of economy and household size than that 
used in modeling the social organization of ancient 
Taymyr hunters. The occupants of the Dyuna III 
dwelling belonged to the Vozhpay culture, which 
dates from the ninth through tenth centuries A.D. 
They belonged to an ancient ethnic group that in 
all likelihood later gave rise to the historical Nenets 
and Enets. The inhabitants of the site were prob- 
ably familiar with forest-type reindeer herding. This 
assumption is based on the fact that the Vozhpay 
tradition extended to the territory inhabited by the 
ancient Samodian people before they shifted from 
forest to tundra reindeer herding, as well as on 
evidence from the structure itself. [In his Russian 
theses and other publications, Khiobystin used the 



scientific term Samodiitsy, wliicli we transliterate 
here as Samodians in order to distinguish prehis- 
toric Samoyedic-speaking people of Siberia from the 
historical 'Samoyeds' of the early Russian records, 
who are currently known as the Nenets (formerly 
Samoyed proper), Enets (formerly Yenisey Samoyed), 
Nganasan (Tavg Samoyed), and Selkup (formerly 
Ostyak-Samoyed) —Ed.] 

Three mandibles of young reindeer were found 
in the dwelling. As hunters always prefer a larger 
game animal, while cattle-breeders usually slaughter 
youngsters, and unless the three young reindeer 
were wild prey, the evidence supports the assump- 
tion that the occupants of the dwelling had a herd of 
reindeer. The need to pasture and guard a reindeer 
herd on a territory belonging to a hunting popula- 
tion necessitated integration of men in a large com- 
munity, which may account for the large size of the 
Dyuna III dwelling. The possibility of keeping reindeer 
together with people in one structure should not be 
overlooked. The size of the dwelling and the presence 
of some structural elements, possibly enclosures and 
smudge-pots, support this conclusion. 

The large pot with charcoal found in the house 
might have been used to produce smudge [to keep 
flies and other insects away]. The keeping of rein- 
deer in dwelling-like structures is characteristic of 
historical forest reindeer herders, such as the Khanty, 
Nenets, and Enets of West Siberia (Lukina 1 979:1 1 3, 
114; Vasil'ev 1962). We observed similar practices 
during our excavations in the Tagenar River Basin 
and at the mouth of the Boganida River in the forest- 
tundra part of Taymyr. The Pyasina River area where 
the Dyuna III site was located was part of the forest- 
tundra zone where the pasturing methods developed 
in the taiga zone could be used. In all likelihood the 
custom of setting up structures with smudge-pots 
where reindeer could be sheltered from mosquitoes 
originated in the old practice of people and reindeer 
sharing a dwelling. If this was the case with the Dyuna 
III structure, the household could have consisted of 
twenty to thirty people. 

The discovery of sites such as Dyuna III highlights 
the problem of the origins and development of 
reindeer herding in the tundra zone of Western and 
Central Siberia. The so-called 'Samoyedic' (Samodian) 
type of large-scale reindeer herding is now practiced 
in this region and is characterized by long seasonal 
migrations of herds that are guarded using dogs and 
reindeer sledges. On the Taymyr Peninsula, the herds- 
men use saddle reindeer, a characteristic feature of 
the traditional Dolgan herding tradition and a variant 
of the Tungus (Oroch) type of reindeer herding. 

The questions of when and where various types 
of reindeer herding came into existence and how to 
model initial reindeer domestication are dealt with in 
numerous publications thoroughly reviewed by S. I. 
Vainshtein(1970, 1971, 1 972:99-1 25). Gracheva and 
I have also discussed the origin and development of 
reindeer herding in the Siberian and European tundra 
zone using archaeological and ethnographic mate- 
rial, folklore, and written records (Khiobystin and 
Gracheva 1974). Igor Krupnik (1975, 1976, 1993), 
who generally endorsed my ecological approach to 
the development of reindeer breeding in the Eurasian 
tundra zone, was somewhat inaccurate in outlining 
the principles behind my approach, which I discuss 

The hypothesis that the Sayan-Altay region was 
an early center of reindeer domestication and herd- 
ing is the one most generally accepted (Bogoras-Tan 
1 933; Hatt 1919; Laufer 1917; Skalon 1 956; for a 
detailed review see Vainshtein 1970, 1971, 1972). 
Images of reindeer seen in the Bolshaya Boyarskaya, 
Maydashenskaya and Tepseyskaya rock paintings are 
usually interpreted as clear archaeological evidence 
of domesticated reindeer breeding by the people of 
the ancient Tagar or Tashtyk cultures of South Siberia 
(Devlet 1976; Kyzlasov 1952, 1960:184). 

However, Ermolova (1 979:1 35) presents persua- 
sive arguments against such an interpretation of one 
of the Bolshaya Boyarskaya compositions as an image 
of a domestic reindeer herd driven by herdsmen 
toward a settlement. In her opinion the composition 



depicts a battue [concealment or barricade] hunt 
for roe deer. Indisputable evidence of early reindeer 
herding in South Siberia is the sculptures of bridled 
reindeer found in the burial vaults of the Tashtyk 
culture dated to the first centuries A.D. (Kyzlasov 
1952, 1960:132-1 34, 183, 184). According to the 
well-known Fisher and Kastren hypothesis of the 
1800s, which is supported by some contemporary 
linguists and ethnologists, the Samoyedic-speaking 
ancestors of today's Nenets, Enets, Nganasan, and 
Selkup peoples migrated to northern Siberia from 
the Sayan Uplands, bringing with them forest pack- 
and-saddle reindeer herding. According to Khomich 
(1966:37), the northward movement of the ancient 
Samodian tribes began in the first or second century 

A. D. and proceeded in several waves until the end 
of the first millennium. The only route that those 
ancient Samodian reindeer herders could take to West 
Siberia lay in the Tomsk-Chulym interfluvial, since 
the steppe expanses west and east lacked adequate 
reindeer habitat. However, the Tomsk-Chulym inter- 
fluvial may not be entirely appropriate for migrating 
reindeer herds either. 

Another possibility is that as early as the Neolithic, 
some Samoyedic-speaking [early Samodian] commu- 
nities were already established in the forest regions 
of West Siberia. At least some archaeologists argue 
for their existence there based on archaeological 
evidence (Kosarev 1964, 1974; Okiadnikov 1948, 
1 957). I share the view that the pit-comb pottery sites 
of the second millennium B.C. actually belonged to 
these early Samodian groups. I also believe that the 
presence of pit-comb pottery in ancient sites along 
the Lower Ob and the Taz rivers attests to the initial 
colonization of Northwest Siberia by Samoyedic- 
speaking migrants as early as the second millennium 

B. C. (Khiobystin 1969b, 1979a). 

The early Samodian inhabitants of Southwest 
Siberia in the second millennium B.C. had contact 
with cattle-breeding cultures. Their contacts with 
the Andronovo population resulted in the emergence 
of hybrid cultures, including the Suzgun and Elovo 

archaeological cultures in the southern forest zone. 
These contacts could have contributed to the shift 
of the early Samodian people to cattle breeding and 
subsequently to reindeer herding. The movements of 
cattle-breeding people of the Andronovo and Tagar 
cultures and, particularly of the early Turkic-speaking 
groups in the Tomsk-Chulym interfluvial led to the 
fragmentation of the ancient Samodian community 
in the steppe and forest zones. As a result, some 
Samodian groups then retreated to the mountainous 
Sayan regions farther south. This view on the origins 
of the early Samodian reindeer herders in the Sayan 
Mountains was strongly supported by Chernetsov 
(1963:411). Clearly, the two hypotheses outlined 
above are mutually exclusive; the extensive distribu- 
tion of the early Samoyedic-speaking people in the 
Neolithic and the Bronze Age eliminates the southern 
Sayan Mountains region as the place where Siberian 
reindeer herding originated. 

In his monograph devoted to the formation of 
the northern Samoyedic-speaking ethnic groups in 
Siberia (the Nenets, Enets, and Nganasan), Vasil'ev 
(1979) asserts that in the early part of the first 
millennium A.D. various Samoyedic-speaking com- 
munities inhabited the forest-steppe regions on the 
vast expanses from the eastern spurs of the Urals to 
the Sayan Uplands in south-central Siberia. Vasil'ev 
identifies three stages in the gradual movement of 
those early Samoyedic-speaking populations to the 
North. He dates the earliest Samodian migration to 
the second through fourth centuries A.D., associat- 
ing it with the appearance in the polar region of the 
ancestors of the tundra Nenets. The subsequent two 
stages, dated to the ninth and thirteenth centuries, 
were related to the migration of the ancestors of the 
forest Nenets and Enets (Vasil'ev 1979:224). 

Russian archaeologists and ethnologists are 
unanimous in assuming that it was the forest 
pack-saddle type of reindeer herding that the early 
Samodian groups introduced to the North. However, 
there is reason to believe that they were familiar 
with sledge reindeer herding as well. One of the 



rock paintings in South Siberia (Uibat, Kyzyl-Khaya) 
depicts a horse harnessed to a sleigh resembling a 
reindeer sledge (Devlet 1976:table XIV; Savenkov 
1910:table VIII). Next to it are representations of 
Scythian-type cauldrons on a tall tray apparently 
associated with the sledge, which suggests that 
the composition should be dated to Tagar-Tashtyk 
times. The early hunters of the European North and 
the regions east of the Urals, including West Siberia, 
had both single- and double-runner sledges, the 
remains of which have been found in peat bogs. 
The earliest date to the Mesolithic; others date to 
the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. Fragments of a 
two-runner sledge with straight stays were found 
in the lower layer of Section 6 of the Gorbunovsky 
peat deposit as well as in the Shigir peat bog (Eding 
1 929:fig.l :7; curated at the Ekaterinburg Regional 
Museum). The sledge design could be used for both 
reindeer and dogsleds. 

The highly developed dog breeding culture, with 
dogs used for transportation, has reportedly been 
in existence in West Siberian polar regions since 
at least the end of the first millennium B.C. This is 
proven by intricately shaped parts of a dog harness 
and the sculptured representation of a harnessed dog 
found at the famous Ust-Poluy site in the Lower Ob 
River valley (Moshinskaia 1 953:84, 101, table VI). In 
the Siberian tundra regions, reindeer herding is far 
more rewarding than dog breeding. As a result the 
latter developed only at certain favorable locations 
such as Ust-Poluy, whereas the principal role played 
by the dog was that of a helper to reindeer herders 
and hunters. Nevertheless, early residents of the 
tundra zone obviously possessed the skills required 
for making sledges and harnesses that could be used 
by the Samodian people in their transition to sledge 
reindeer herding. 

At the time the early Samodian people arrived 
in the northern reaches of Siberia— if we accept 
Vasil'ev's dating and assumptions— local inhabit- 
ants evidently already practiced some sort of simple 
reindeer herding (Vasil'ev 1979:62, 65). I share this 

assumption. Finds from Ust-Poluy dated to the last 
centuries of the first millennium B.C. include reindeer 
headbands made of bone that were probably made 
for domestic reindeer used as decoys (Moshinskaia 
1 953:78-80, table IV). The ample ethnographic and 
folklore material collected among the Nganasan, 
Enets, eastern Yenisey Nenets, and Saami indicate 
the widespread use of tame reindeer as decoys in the 
hunt for wild reindeer [or caribou]. There is some evi- 
dence that this hunting method was in use before the 
appearance of tundra reindeer herding. Simchenko 
(1 976:96-1 01 ) furnishes convincing proof that this 
mode of hunting was devised by early arctic caribou 
hunters. Also, the emergence of reindeer herding 
in the polar regions, irrespective of the influence of 
the early Samodian people from the Sayan Uplands 
in South Siberia, is clearly demonstrated by the exis- 
tence of reindeer herds and reindeer decoys among 
the Saami, as reported to the English king Alfred 
the Great by the Norman Oter (Ottar) (Nordenskibid 
1 881 :48) as early as the ninth century A. D. This took 
place much earlier than the ancestors of today's 
Saami could have established direct contact with 
the ancestors of the Samoyedic-speaking Siberian 
peoples such as the Nenets and Enets. 

Cattle-breeding skills could have been brought 
first to the northern section of West Siberia late in the 
Bronze Age with the expansion of the forest cultures 
from the middle Ob River Basin; these skills could 
have given rise to the development of early reindeer 
herding. However, it is more likely that northern 
tundra hunters obtained reindeer decoys as a result 
of episodic taming of the calves of wild reindeer. A 
decoy reindeer could be then used for transporting 
killed prey by dragging it on a reindeer hide (Dolgikh 
1964:79; Luk'ianchenko 1971:74). Such tame rein- 
deer could also be harnessed to a trough-shaped 
sledge or a light boat that later became a sled similar 
to the historical Saami kerezha. 

Thus, by the first millennium A.D. local residents 
of the Northwest Siberian tundra zone had already 
developed some components that subsequently 



formed part of the sledge reindeer herding culture 
of the historic northern Samoyedic-speaking 
peoples, such as the Nenets, Enets, and Nganasan. 
The Samodian migrants to the polar regions 
supplemented those initial components with their 
developing herding skills. In the open, flat expanses 
of the forest-tundra ecotone, the mobility of both 
caribou and domesticated reindeer increases and 
their gregariousness becomes more manifest (Baskin 
1970:52, 53). Thus, the domestic reindeer herds 
could be larger, but they also required constant 
guarding. As a result, guard dogs played greater roles 
and the herdsmen needed some sort of conveyance. 
In the flat barren country, this brought about the 
transition to reindeer sled guarding. The need for the 
herdsman to be constantly with the herd was one of 
the reasons for increasing the number of herdsmen 
and the size of the herding community. Underforest- 
tundra conditions, the foundations were laid for the 
development of the historically-known "Samoyed" 
type of reindeer herding economy; however, long 
seasonal migrations typical of this economy emerged 
later, as domestic herds expanded into the broad 
open reaches of the barren tundra. 

Both historical and ecological factors were respon- 
sible for the development of tundra reindeer breeding 
in Northwest Siberia. The climatic change that began 
in the third millennium B.C. and the deforestation 
of the Arctic resulted in the expansion of the tundra 
zone, which, by the early second millennium B.C. had 
reached roughly its modern extent. The expansion 
of the zone favored the growth of the tundra popula- 
tions of caribou. However, according to climatologi- 
cal, glaciological, and palynological evidence, for the 
last two thousand years, there were warmer climatic 
conditions due to a rise in winter temperatures and 
higher humidity. Under warmer conditions, snow 
cover increased in thickness, whereas repeated fall 
and winter thawing often led to the ground being 
covered with ice-crust. Snow cover of more than half 
a meter is considered a handicap to reindeer pastur- 
ing (Baskin 1970:84, 92); these conditions made it 

difficult for reindeer to access ground vegetation 
under heavy snow. Presumably, these warmer condi- 
tions were responsible for decreases in the tundra 
reindeer populations. Climatic warming affected 
forest and forest-tundra populations of reindeer to 
a far lesser degree; it is no surprise that these were 
the areas where Samoyedic-type reindeer herding 
was developing. 

In many respects, the relations between popula- 
tions of wild and domestic reindeer are characterized 
by biological antagonism [see Syroechkovskii 1975 
—Ed.]. The decrease in the wild reindeer population 
in the tundra zone facilitated use of their pastures by 
early reindeer herders. Herders could have moved to 
the tundra areas when there was less danger of their 
domestic herds being lured away by the migrating 
caribou. In all likelihood the migrants had small herds 
of domesticated reindeer that were used mainly for 
transportation and for hunting caribou. This early 
type of reindeer breeding, primarily for transporta- 
tion and hunting use, was quite distinct from the 
indigenous reindeer-herding economy known from 
later records. 

Decoy and sled reindeer were few in number and 
were slaughtered for food only in the event of famine 
(Laptev 1 851 :44). Thus, tame reindeer were used for 
production rather than for consumption, which, in 
my opinion, is the key threshold in a transition to a 
true food-producing economy. 

Upon entering the expanses of the West Siberian 
tundra zone and mixing with its earlier residents, 
the Samodian people adopted some features of local 
subsistence strategies. I believe that the bearers of 
the Vozhpay culture represented that early Samodian 
wave. They switched to long seasonal migrations, 
following the herds of tundra caribou, but also using 
their domesticated reindeer as transportation ani- 
mals [this is similar to the subsistence pattern later 
defined by Krupnik (1993) as "late hunters" —Ed.]. 
Access to productive tundra pastures triggered fast 
growth of domestic reindeer stocks as herds gradu- 
ally occupied pastures that were formerly used by 



wild reindeer. The replacement of a large-size breed 
of forest reindeerwith the much smallertundra breed 
followed suit. It could have taken place in two ways: 
by mixing with the herds of local reindeer, the decoy 
animals included, and, possibly, by morphological 
changes of the introduced forest reindeer under 
tundra conditions. 

The early reindeer-herding communities that 
moved to the tundra zone were fairly large, whereas 
the aboriginal residents used to live in small groups. 
The latter, according to our Taymyr evidence, used 
to aggregate only for a short time during caribou 
hunting at river crossings. The large groups of new 
arrivals who used transport reindeer herding could 
thus easily overcome the scattered bands of tundra 
aborigines. However, the two populations eventually 
established economic and marital ties that led to 
the gradual incorporation of the indigenous tundra 
residents into the more advanced economy of the 
Samodians and to further expansion and develop- 
ment of reindeer herding practices. 

The incorporation of the pre-Samodian population 
of the tundra zone into the historical Samoyedic- 
speaking groups, such as the Nenets, Enets, and 
Nganasan, is the subject of debate (e.g., Dolgikh 
1952, 1970b; Khomich 1966; Lashuk 1958; 
Simchenko 1976; Vasil'ev 1979). This process may 
have lasted for a long time, as indicated by traces of 
sixteenth-century aboriginal coastal culture found 
by Chernetsov near Cape Khaen-Sale on northern 
Yamal Peninsula (Chernetsov 1935) and the narra- 
tive of French traveler de la Martinere from the mid- 
seventeenth century (de la Martiniere 1912). In all 
probability, the first to be assimilated were the tundra 
hunters whose subsistence economy and lifestyle was 
heavily dependent upon caribou populations. Their 
adoption of reindeer herding from the Samodian 
ancestors of the Nenets and Enets, along with their 
language and culture, attests to the dominant role 
played by the Samodian reindeer economy. 

On Taymyr, the ancestors of the Western 
Nganasan, the first to come into contact with 

Samoyedic-speaking reindeer herders, started their 
own herds of domestic reindeer much earlier than 
groups farther east. Their herds were also larger, as 
revealed by historical records of the early 1900s— 
probably due to their established ties with the east- 
ernmost Yenisey Nenets, who were accomplished 
reindeer herders. 

Preservation of large wild reindeer herds on the 
Taymyr Peninsula enabled the Nganasan to use their 
domestic reindeer mainly for transportation. Those 
having more reindeer could choose more distant but 
better caribou hunting grounds (Popov 1948:68). 
According to Popov's data, in 1938 a Nganasan 
family with a herd of fifty reindeer was considered 
to be poor, because it could hardly make ends meet 
during a long seasonal trek (Popov 1 948:55). The role 
of traditional caribou hunting among the Nganasan 
ted to the continued existence of small bands of 
hunters and the preservation of some forms of social 

The practice of sled reindeer herding may also 
have reached Taymyr from the east. The Nganasan 
legends collected by Gracheva in 1972 tell of the 
Syupsya, the "invaders" of folklore who came to the 
eastern part of the peninsula and who were rich sled 
reindeer herders. According to Nganasan stories, the 
Nganasan were eager to marry the Syupsya people, 
particularly by making them their sons-in-law. The 
legends indicate that the Syupsya had large reindeer 
and sledges that differed from the Samoyedic design: 
vertical stanchions with wide runners. 

According to historical Russian sources, in the 
seventeenth century, the larger Nenets-owned herds 
in the tundra zone comprised about one hundred 
reindeer, but in the eighteenth century, thousand- 
head herds appeared (Khomich 1966:51). Krupnik 
(1976) has also reported on rapidly increasing herd 
size among the Nenets from the sixteenth through 
the eighteenth centuries [see Krupnik 1 993:1 60-1 84]. 
Large-herd reindeer economies apparently originated 
in the central zone of Samodian reindeer herding, 
i.e., among the Siberian tundra Nenets. According 



to Vasilii Zuev, who visited the area in the 1 770s "A 
rich man [among the Reindeer Nenets] would have a 
herd of up to three thousand draught reindeer... and 
a multitude of yet unbroken [reindeer] are ranging 
in herds across the tundra" (1947:32). The Nenets 
were then actively migrating across the tundra from 
Northwest Siberia to the west and east in search of 
new pastures for their herds. 

An increase in the size of reindeer herds enhanced 
the role of the herd owner and promoted the forma- 
tion of independent families and the dismember- 
ment of the clans (Curvich and Dolgikh 1 970:1 81 ). 
The greater importance of the herd owner is vividly 
reflected in Nenets folklore. Although the recording 
of Nenets folklore is of fairly recent origin (initiated 
by Mathias A. Kastren in the 1 850s), the Nenets oral 
tradition has preserved many memories of the sev- 
enteenth century and even earlier. The characters in 
the Nenets legends were unfamiliar with the use of 
firearms and wore chain mail. In Epic Songs of the 
Nenets, published by Kupriianova (1965), there are 
stories about rich and poor kinsmen as well as about 
the "master of the camp," whose personal choom tow- 
ers above the others in the camp, and about relent- 
less wars for the possession of reindeer herds. The 
owners of large herds were known to have several 
wives and slaves. Uniting around such large herd 
owners were kinsmen with small herds and families 
that had no reindeer, who then served as herdsmen to 
the rich and were an exploited part of the population. 
The large-scale Samoyedic-type reindeer economy of 
the historical Nenets became not only the principal 
subsistence strategy and productive economy, but 
also a source of wealth. 

The transition to sled reindeer herding affected 
many facets of material culture. For instance, sea- 
sonal dwellings were replaced with movable chooms; 
ceramic ware was no longer in use; and outer skin 
clothing was made longer, more suitable for riding 
in a sledge. 

By providing a reliable source of food for tundra 
inhabitants, reindeer herding promoted marked 

population growth. According to seventeenth-century 
Russian tax records, there were 4670 "Obdorsk 
Samoyeds," i.e., Nenets, living in the Lower Ob 
River region (Dolgikh 1960:76) compared to some 
1400 Nenets in the European Arctic (1970b:22). 
According to the 1 959 census, about 1 4,000 tundra 
Nenets resided in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous 
Area [which is roughly equivalent to the area of the 
Obdorsk Samoyedic-speakers] and some 5000 in 
the Nenets Autonomous Area of the Russian Arctic 
(Khomich 1966:19). Thus, the size of the overall 
Nenets population had increased more than threefold 
over 300 years. 

Other indigenous ethnic groups of North 
Siberia that, unlike the Nenets, retained their ter- 
restrial or sea-mammal hunting economies, could 
not match such impressive population growth. 
For example, the Nganasan population remained 
almost unchanged, numbering roughly one thou- 
sand people. The population of another Siberian 
caribou-hunting group, the Yukagir, was reduced 
by the late 1800s to one-fourth of their previous 
number. The population of sea mammal-hunting 
Eskimo and Itelmen fishers also declined. To a large 
extent these population declines were due to their 
assimilation by other indigenous groups with more 
developed economies. Referring to the data on the 
Tungus, Dolgikh wrote that "different parts of an 
ethnic group representing different subsistence 
types had different destinies" (Dolgikh 1 960:61 5). 
Based on the estimated size of the caribou popula- 
tion in the Eurasian Arctic, Simchenko (1976:84) 
calculated that before the inhabitants of the tundra 
zone took up reindeer herding and sea mammal 
hunting they totaled only about 1 0,000 to 1 1 ,000 
people. Comparison of this figure with the size of 
the historical Nenets population alone shows how 
significant the transition to reindeer breeding was 
for indigenous population growth. 

The reindeer herding economy in the Eurasian 
Arctic, or at least, in the western section from the 
Taymyr Peninsula west into northern Scandinavia, 



eventually evolved into various regional sub-types 
based upon local ecology and historical conditions. 
As of the early twentieth century, three major sub- 
types could be identified. Type 1 prevailed in the 
Taymyr region where along with reindeer herding, the 
Native subsistence economy was primarily focused 
on wild reindeer hunting, which satisfied most sub- 
sistence needs. Type 2 was distributed from the 
northern reaches of West Siberia and northeastern 
(European) Russia; it was characterized by large-scale 
reindeer herding of the Samoyedic type. Type 3 was 
represented by Saami (Lapp) reindeer herding on the 

Kola Peninsula. Carried on in the forest-tundra zone. 
Type 3 preserved certain traits of forest reindeer 
herding and primarily focused on meeting transpor- 
tation needs. 

To summarize, only the Samoyedic-type reindeer 
breeding of the Nenets attained the level of a true 
food-producing economy; this was clearly reflected 
in Nenets social structure. However, the reindeer 
herding of the Taymyr people and of the Kola Saami 
(Lapp) was at the initial stage of the transition to such 
an economy and retained elements of the hunting 
and fishing economic system. 



/ 70/ Khiobystin's field camp on the Yugor Peninsula, facing Vaygach Island, 1 987. The Early Medieval site 
excavated by Khiobystin is located on the shore of Yugorsky Shar strait, between the Barents and Kara seas. 
Photographer Vladimir Pitulko. 



As illustrated by surveys and discoveries by Russian 
archaeologists during the last few decades, climatic 
factors did not prevent Palaeolithic mammoth hunt- 
ers from penetrating certain regions of the Eurasian 
Arctic and Subarctic zones (i.e., along the Lower 
Pechora Valley, in Northern Yakutia, and Northeast 
Siberia) in late glacial times, during the Kokorevo 
and Taymyr interstadials (Boiling and Allerod). 
However, permanent population of the Eurasian 
polar regions occurred only in the Mesolithic 
between the seventh and fifth millennium B.C. as 
a result of climatic amelioration beginning in the 
Early Holocene. 

With the milder climate, forest vegetation 
boundaries shifted northward and inland tundra 
was greatly reduced during the Climatic Optimum. 
The Eurasian polar region was then colonized from 
the south by populations of various cultures, such 
as Suomusjarvi and Fosna, which gave rise to the 
Komsa tradition in northern Scandinavia and on 
the Kola Peninsula. Farther eastward, the Volga- 
Oka and Ural cultures penetrated to the north of 
the Archangel Province [northernmost portion of 
European Russia ~-£d.\\ and people of the Sumnagin 
tradition populated the East Siberian Arctic and 
Chukotka. At the same time, descendants of the 
early groups that settled in the southern portion of 
Northeast Siberia during the Palaeolithic may also 
have colonized the region. 

The settlement of Taymyr occurred relatively 
late, during the fifth millennium B.C., as a result of 

the northward migration of the Sumnagin popula- 
tion via the Olenek and the Anabar River basins. 
In all likelihood, during the Mesolithic and Early 
Neolithic periods. Northwest Siberia was sparsely 
populated due to the great expanses of marshland 
in the Atlantic Period. The Mesolithic population of 
the Arctic served as a foundation for the develop- 
ment of subsequent ethnic formations, including 
the contemporary indigenous peoples of the Far 

The beginning of the Neolithic is marked by the 
appearance of ceramic ware. The recurrent influx 
of new populations from the neighboring regions 
to the south brought cultural elements that were 
adopted by the aboriginal population as a result of 
contact. Similar cultural transformations were occur- 
ring during the Metal Period. Based on the study of 
archaeological sites of the Eurasian Arctic, I have 
come to the conclusion that circumpolar culture 
was not of Ural origin (Khiobystin 1 973b:65; 1975; 
see also Curina and Khiobystin 1 975:41 0). Alekseev 
(1 975) reached similar conclusions on the basis of 
physical anthropological evidence. 

Archaeological investigations have shown that 
starting in the Neolithic, Taymyr was the site of com- 
plex contacts between two different regions— West 
and East Siberia. Based on their lithic assemblages. 
Early Neolithic sites in Taymyr are associated with 
the earlier Mesolithic culture. The presence of net 
pottery characteristic of the East Siberian Early 
Neolithic indicates adoption of this technology from 


Evenkia and Yakutia. In this case, the Mesolithic- 
Neolithic transition corresponded to the processes 
of formation of the earlier Neolithic cultures to the 
south, where pottery-making skills expanded from 
several original centers of associated Mesolithic 
traditions, usually through adoption of technology 
rather than via migration. 

During the second millennium B.C., the Belkachi 
culture of the Late Neolithic with its corded ware 
penetrated the Taymyr Peninsula from Yakutia. Its 
influence on local traditions resulted in the emer- 
gence of the Maimeche culture in the eastern part 
of the peninsula. Maimeche net pottery employs 
decorative techniques of the Belkachi culture. Of 
particular interest is the custom of wearing lip orna- 
ments (labrets). Similar ornaments were recorded 
for the Late Neolithic of the Kamchatka Peninsula 
and also for historical ethnic groups of the North 
Pacific coast. Thus, it appears that the tradition of 
wearing labrets existed among the Mesolithic and. 

1 71/ A small 'islet' of the full-grown larch forest 
('Larix gmelinii^ along the Lower Avam River, west- 
ern Taymyr, 2001 . Local people usually call such 
islets of trees within the forest-tundra landscape 
ary-mas (literally 'northern forest'). The most fa- 
mous ary-mas is located along the Novaya River 
in Central Taymyr, at about 73°N; it is the world's 
northernmost piece of standing forest above the 
arctic treeline. Photographer John Ziker. 

probably, Palaeolithic populations of East Siberia, 
who brought it to both the Taymyr Peninsula and 
the North Pacific region. 

Late in the third millennium B.C., the Baikit 
culture, characterized by pottery decorated with 
linear-prick patterns, extended from Evenkia to the 
western part of the Taymyr Peninsula. Its appear- 
ance in the Yenisey River basin is a manifestation 
of West Siberian cultures spreading eastward along 
the right-bank tributaries of the Yenisey River, the 
Angara included, to the Lake Baikal area, which 
resulted in the emergence of distinctively new 
cultures. In all probability, the expansion of West 
Siberian cultural traditions resulted from the move- 
ment of ethnic groups of the Ural-Siberian commu- 
nity, possibly the ancient Samodians. 

In the second millennium B.C., the greater part 
of East Siberia was the province of the Ymiyakhtakh 
cultural community, characterized by distinctive 
waffle pottery. In the last quarter of the second 
millennium B.C., waffle pottery groups infiltrated 
the Taymyr Peninsula. A variant of the Ymiyakhtakh 
cultural community was formed in the region, which 
apparently incorporated part of the peninsula's 
aboriginal population. 

The deposits of copper on the peninsula and 
of tin in the Indigirka River valley farther eastward 
enabled Taymyr and Lower Lena Ymiyakhtakh 
groups to begin manufacturing bronze in the twelfth 
century B.C. The Lake Baikal area was the center 
from which the bronze industry reached the Taymyr 
and polar regions of Yakutia [Sakha Republic] via 
Evenkia and possibly West Yakutia. The Ymiyakhtakh 
population of East Yakutia could have remained a 
Late Neolithic culture. The waffle pottery groups 
advanced westward via Taymyr through the tundra 
and forest-tundra zones as far as Scandinavia. Their 
movement is demonstrated by waffle pottery dating 
to the late second and early first millennium B.C. and 
found in the southern part of the Yamal Peninsula, in 
the Bolshezemelskaya tundra, on the Kola Peninsula, 
in northern Finland and on the Atlantic coast of 



Norway. Waffle pottery was also spreading eastward, 
to Chukotka and Alaska. It is the circumpolar tradi- 
tion with the widest distribution. Through migra- 
tion, waffle pottery groups came into contact with 
local populations, which could have resulted in the 
appearance of common elements in the cultures of 
different ethnic groups of the Arctic. 

One of the traditions encountered by the Taymyr 
Ymyiakhtakh population on their way westward 
belonged to the descendants of the Baikit culture 
living along the Pyasina River. The Pyasina culture 
developed here in the first half of the first millen- 
nium B.C.; Pyasina pottery combined waffle, Baikit 
and other types of West Siberian ceramic traditions. 
Contact between Ymiyakhtakh and West Siberian 
populations probably gave rise to the ancient 
Yukagir community. Some of the Ymiyakhtakh 
groups may have been ancestral to the historical 
Yukagir. Since the words for "copper" have a com- 
mon root in the Yukagir and Samoyedic languages, 
but those for "iron" are different, the end of contacts 
between the Samodian and the Yukagir communi- 
ties may be dated to prior to the wide distribution 
of iron in East Siberian cultures, i.e., about two 
thousand years ago. Early Yukagir and Samodian 
ties could have been severed due to alien groups 
that were probably ancestral to the historical Ket 

The influence of the West Siberian cultures on the 
Pyasina tradition manifested itself in the develop- 
ment of an advanced metal industry. The discovery 
of an iron tool, the oldest in the Arctic, associated 
with the Pyasina tradition suggests that Pyasina 
dates to the Early Iron Age. The manufacture of 
bronze objects depended upon local and imported 
raw materials. It is possible to distinguish, on the 
basis of the Ymiyakhtakh and Pyasina bronze- 
casting workshops, the ancient "Taymyr" mining 
and metallurgical region, with its two separate 
centers, in the Pyasina River/ Lake area and in 
northwestern Yakutia. However, the level of local 
economies, based on mobile hunting and fishing. 

precluded further development of bronze casting 
on the Taymyr Peninsula. 

The direct successor to the Pyasina tradition in 
the western part of the peninsula was the Malaya 
Korennaya culture, which dates from the late first mil- 
lennium B.C. to the first centuries A.D. Groups of sites 
from the first to early second millennium A.D. can be 
distinguished in the Taymyr arctic region by different 
types of pottery characterized by East Siberian tech- 
nology and ornamentation, such as Tagenar, Boyarka 

I and II, and Ust-Polovinka. Ust Polovinka thin-walled 
ware decorated with thin applied ridges, and dated 
to the tenth through twelfth century A.D., is the final 
type of pottery to appear on Taymyr. In subsequent 
centuries, the production of ceramic vessels in the 
Taymyr polar region, as in many other parts of Siberia, 
was discontinued. 

Taymyr pottery from the first and second millen- 
nia A.D. is similar to types found at Iron Age sites in 
Yakutia. There are strong similarities between Boyarka 

II and Siktyakh, Tagenar and Sangar, Ust-Polovinka 
and Chebedal types on the Taymyr Peninsula and in 
Yakutia, respectively, as well as in Evenkia. Apparently 
these types reflect the existence in East Siberia of 
various ethnic groups of different origins. The Sangar 
and Siktyakh types with comb and pit ornamenta- 
tion evidently preserved traditions imported from 
West Siberia, which suggests that their makers were 
coming from the ancient Yukagiric-speaking groups. 
Chebedal ware, decorated with thin applied ridges and 
similar to pottery from the Lake Baikal region, displays 
characteristics that associate it with the Amur and 
Trans-Baikal areas. The Amur and Trans-Baikal regions 
appear to be the centers from which groups, possibly 
the ancient Tungus, were expanding into East Siberia. 
The appearance of the Boyarka and Ust-Polovinka 
types of pottery in the Taymyr polar region may thus 
be associated with the infiltration of ancient Yukagir 
and Tungus groups, respectively. The Samodian eth- 
nic element, closely related to the Yukagiric, appears 
to correspond to the Pyasina tradition and the Malaya 
Korennaya culture that supplanted it. 



Between the ninth and the tenth centuries A.D., a 
new population appeared in the western part of the 
Taymyr Peninsula and brought with it a distinctive 
cultural form: the Vozhpay culture. Vozhpay sites 
have been discovered in the Middle Ob Valley in West 
Siberia; from here, the Vozhpay culture reached 
higher latitudes, via the Ob-Yenisey interfluvial, and 
spread out from the western part of Taymyr to the 
Ob Valley and probably the Lower Pechora Valley. As 
some written sources mention the presence in the 
eleventh century of Samoyedic-speaking people in 
Northwest Siberia ['Samoyed' or 'Samoyad' in early 
Russian chronicles —Ed.], there is good reason to 
believe that the Vozhpay cultural community was 
ancestral to the historical Nenets and Enets. The 
Vozhpay population represented one of the final 
waves of Samodian migration to the Arctic. 

Associated with the first wave are Kols (Taz) type 
sites that date to the end of the second and first 
half of the first millennium B.C. These sites were 
discovered in the lower reaches of the Ob and the 
Taz rivers, are comparable to the pit-comb ware 
cultures of the Middle Ob Valley and have been 
associated with ancient Samodian groups by some 
investigators. The penetration of Taymyr by the 
Vozhpay culture marked the arrival of the Samodian 

/ 72/ Abandoned Nganasan camp along the Avam 
River, western Taymyr, 2001 . Photographer John 

population, which was involved in the later forma- 
tion of the historical Nganasan people. 

The wide distribution of Ust-Polovinka pottery 
on Taymyr in the twelfth through thirteenth centu- 
ries indicates the "Tungusization" of the aboriginal 
tundra population. Taymyr sites of the fourteenth 
through sixteenth century contain no pottery. It 
nevertheless is possible to correlate archaeologi- 
cal evidence of the evolution of ancient cultures 
with ethnohistoric data on the origin of the ethnic 
alliances from the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies, which contributed directly to the formation 
of the Nganasan. There is good agreement between 
the inferences made from archaeological and ethno- 
graphic evidence. Thus, the origin of the so-called 
"Kurak" and the "Pyasida" Samoyeds [of Russian 
sources from the 1 600s —Ed.] appear to be associ- 
ated with the Vozhpay culture, whereas Tungus- 
speaking ethnic groups were probably associated 
with Ust-Polovinka pottery. Local cultural develop- 
ment was probably associated with the groups that 
Russians called "Tavgi" (Tavg) and "Tidiris" in seven- 
teenth-century historical accounts; their ancestors 
may have included the Ust-Cherninsk, Pyasina, and 
Maimeche cultural communities. Thus, despite the 
complexity of theirformation, today's Nganasan are 
truly the direct descendants of the ancient Mesolithic 
population of the Taymyr Peninsula. 

Throughout their long history, the inhabitants of 
the Taymyr Peninsula were primarily caribou/wild 
reindeer hunters. Their way of life and subsistence 
strategy necessitated small, economically indepen- 
dent groups composed of small families. Scattered 
over a vast territory, these bands established marital 
networks and short-term economic alliances. Such 
relationships were critical to the emergence of 
social units within a given territory— a kind of early 
ethnic group that may be termed an "ethnoid." This 
way of life persisted until the appearance of a food 
producing economy in Taymyr based upon large- 
scale reindeer herding, which eventually led to the 
formation of large family groups. 



Archaeological investigation of the Eurasian 
Arctic sheds light on an obscure page in human his- 
tory dealing with colonization of the northern fringe 
of the oecumene. Far from being unconnected to the 
cultural and historical processes that took place in 
regions farther south, the ancient peoples of the 
circumpolar region made distinctive contributions 
to the development of culture. Even at the initial 
stages of the colonization of the forbidding lands of 
the High Arctic, these peoples created cultures best 

suited to their extreme environment. Subsequent 
cultural developments took account of the achieve- 
ments of the aboriginal population, which explains 
a certain conservatism of arctic cultures. 

Such are the conclusions that I have arrived at on 
the basis of my study of the archaeological record 
of the Eurasian Arctic, of the numerous Taymyr 
sites that figure prominently within it, and of the 
archaeological evidence of adjacent regions and 
data from related disciplines. 



1 73/ Leonid Khiobystin (center) lectures at the Beiyi Nos polar station, Yugor Peninsula, during his 1985 
summer survey in the Russian Arctic. Photographer Aleksandr Gorchukov. 


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1976 Bol'shaia Boiarskaia Pisanitsa (Bol'shaia 
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ing House. 

D'iakova, Olga V., and Evgenii V. Shavkunov 

1975 Novyi pamiatnik zheloznogo veka na 
Nizhnem Amure— gorodishche Sikachi-Alian (A 
New Site of the Iron Age in the Lower Amur River 
Region— the Sikachi-Alyan Settlement). Sovetskaia 
arkheologiia 3:158-71. Moscow. 

Dikov, Nikolai N. 

1969 Drevnie kostry Kamchatki i Chukotki (An- 
cient Campfires of Kamchatka and Chukotka). 
Magadan: Magadan Publishing House. 

1977 Arkheologicheskie pamiatniki Kamchatki, 
Chukotki i Verkhnel Kolym. Aziia na style s Ame- 
rikoi V drevnosti (Archaeological Monuments in 
Kamchatka, Chukotka, and the Upper Reaches of 

the Kolyma River: Asia Joining America in Antiqui- 
ty). Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1979 Drevnie kul'tury Severo-Vostochnoi Az\\ (An- 
cient Cultures of Northeastern Asia: Asia Joining 
America in Antiquity). Moscow: Nauka Publishing 

Diuzhikov, Oleg A. 

1 973 O medenosnom gorizonte v trappakh sever- 
nykh sklonov Kharaelakhskikh gor (The Copper 
Horizon in Trappean Rocks of the North Slopes 
of the Kharaelakh Mountains). In Severo-Sibirskii 
nikelenosnyi region i ego promyshlennye perspek- 
tivy. Pp. 58-64. Leningrad. 

Diuzhikov, Oleg A., V. A. Fedorenko, L. A. 
Vinitskii, E. I. Volkov, lu. N. Kiselev, V. E. 
Kornechuk, V. I. Pavlovskii, and L. V. Fedorenko 

1974 Proiavleniia samorodnoi medi v trappakh 
Sibirskoi platformy (plato Kharaelakh) (Native 
Copper in Trapp Rocks of the Siberian Platform, 
Kharaelakh Plateau). In Magmaticheskie i metamor- 
phicheskie kompleksy Vostochnoi Sibiri. Pp. 90-1. 

Dolgikh, Boris O. 

1952 Proiskhozhdenie nganasanov (The Origins 
of the Nganasan). Trudy Instituta etnografii AN 
SSSR 18:7-87. Moscow. 

1960 Rodovoi i plemennoi sostav narodov Sibiri 
v XVII veke (Clan and Tribal Composition of the 
Siberian Aborigines in the Seventeenth Century). 
Trudy Instituta etnografii AN SSSR 55. Moscow. 

1961 Mifologicheskie skazki i istoricheskie pre- 
daniia entsev (Mythology and Historic Legends 
of the Enets People). Trudy Instituta etnografii AN 
SSSR 66. Moscow. 

1 962 Bytovye rasskazy entsev (Enets Folk Stories). 
Trudy Instituta etnografii AN SSSR 75. Moscow. 

1963 Proiskhozhdenie dolgan (The Origins of 
the Dolgan). Trudy Instituta etnografii AN SSSR 
84:92-141. Moscow. 

1964 Problemy etnografii i antropologii Arktiki 
(Issues in Arctic Ethnography and Anthropology). 
Sovetskaia etnografiia 4:76-90. Moscow. 

1970a Vstupitel'noe slovo (Opening Address). In 
Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress 
of Anthropological and Ethnographical Sciences. 
lu. B. Simchenko, ed. Pp. 447-60. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1 970b Ocherki po etnicheskoi istorii nentsev i entsev 
(Essays on the Ethnic History of the Nenets and En- 
ets Peoples). Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1974 K voprosu o sootnoshenii bol'shoi i maloi 
sem'i u narodov Severa v proshlom (On the For- 
mer Relationship between Extended and Nuclear 
Families among Northern Indigenous Peoples). 
In SotsiaTnaia organizatsiia 1 kuTtura narodov 



Severn. I. Gurvich, ed. Pp. 21-57. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 
Dolgikh, Boris O., ed. 

1 976 Mifologicheskie skazki i predaniia nganasan 
(Nganasan Mythology and Historic Legends). Mos- 
cow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Dul'zon, Andrei P. 

1962 Byloe rasseienie ketov po dannym topon- 
imiki (Toponymic Evidence for a Former Settle- 
ment Area of the Ket People). Voprosy geografii 
58:58-62. Moscow. 

Eding, D. I. 

1929 Gorbunovskii torfianik. Predvaritel'nyi 
ocherk arkheologicheskikh rabot 1926-28 gg. 
(The Gorbunovo Peat-Bog: A Preliminary Report 
on the Archaeological Survey from 1926 to 1928). 
Tagil: Tagil Museum Publications. 

Ermolova, Nina M. 

1966 Materialy po faune miekopitaiushchikh 
mezoliticheskoi epokhi Pribaikal'ia (Materials 
for the Mammalian Faunal Assemblage of the 
Cis-Baikal Mesolithic). Materialy i Issledovaniia po 
arkheologii SSSR 126:224-6. Moscow. 

1972 Periodizatsiia pamiatnikov paleolita Yeniseia 
1 Angary na osnovanii paleontologicheskikh dan- 
nykh (Periodization of the Palaeolithic Sites of the 
Yenisey and Angara River Basins: Paleontological 
Evidence). In Problemy absoliutnogo datirovaniia 
V arkheologii. B. Kolchin, ed. Pp. 142-6. Moscow: 
Nauka Publishing House. 

1979 Zhivotnye v zhizni i iskusstve skifov Sibiri 
(Animals in the Life and Art of the Scythians in 
Siberia). In Problemy skifo-sibirskogo kul'turno- 
istoricheskogo edinstva. Pp. 133-6. Kemerovo: 
Kemerovo University Publications. 

Fedorova, Natal'ia V. 

1978 O kul'turnoi prinadlezhnosti ob'-irtyshskikh 
pamiatnikov 1 tys. n.e. (On the Cultural Affiliation 
of the First Millennium A.D. Sites in the Ob-lrtysh 
Region). In Rannii zheleznyi vek Zapadnoi Sibiri. 
V. Matiushchenko, ed. Pp. 78-83. Tomsk: Tomsk 
University Publications. 

Fedoseeva, Svetlana A. 

1 968 Drevnie kul'tury Verkhnego Viliuia (Ancient 
Cultures of the Upper Vilyuy River Region). Mos- 
cow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1970a Epokha bronzy na Aldane (po materialam 
mnogosloinoi stoianki Bel'kachi 1) (The Bronze 
Age of the Aldan River Region: The Belkachi 1 
Stratified Site). Materialy po istorii Siblh 3^303-^3. 
Novosibirsk: Nauka Publishing House. 

1970b Novye dannye o bronzovom veke lakutii 
(New Data on the Yakutian Bronze Age). In Po 
sledam drevnikh kul'tur lakutii. lu. A. Mochanov 
and F. G. Safronov, eds. Pp. 128-42. Yakutsk: 
Yakutsk Publishing House. 

1 970c Rannii zheleznyi vek Aldana (po materialam 
stoinaki Bel'kachi 1 i Diuktaiskoi peshchery) (The 
Early Iron Age of the Aldan River Region: The 
Belkachi 1 and Dyuktai Cave Sites). In Po sledam 
drevnikh kul'tur lakutii. lu. A. Mochanov and F. G. 
Safronov, eds. Pp. 143-53. Yakutsk. 

1970d Osnovnye etapy drevnei istorii Viliuia v 
svete novykh arkheologicheskikh otkrytii (The 
Major Stages of Ancient History of the Vilyuy River 
Region Based on Recent Discoveries). In Po sledam 
drevnikh kul'tur lakutii. lu. A. Mochanov and F. G. 
Safronov, eds. Pp. 65-72. Yakutsk. 

1972 Novye dannye o stoiankakh Ust'-Chirkuo 
na Verkhnem Viliuie i Bururlgino na Nizhnei In- 
digirke (New Data on the Ust-Chirkuo Site, Upper 
Vilyuy River, and the Burulgino Site, on the Lower 
Indigirka River). In Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 
1971. B. Rybakov, ed. Pp. 260-1. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1974 Ust'-mil'skaia kul'tura epokhi bronzy lakutii 
(The Ust'-Mil' Culture of the Yakutian Bronze Age). 
In Drevniaia istoriia narodov iuga Vostochnoi Sibiri 
2. M.N. Aksionov, ed. Pp. 146-58. Irkutsk: Irkutsk 
University Publications. 

1 980 Ymyiakhtakhskaia kul'tura Severo-Vostochnoi 
Azii (The Ymiyakhtakh Culture of Northeastern 
Asia). Novosibirsk: Nauka Publishing House. 

Firsov, L V., Sergei L. Troitskii, T. P. Levina, V. P. 

Nikitin, and V. A. Panychev 

1974 Absoliutnyi vozrast i pervaia dlia severa 
Sibiri standartnaia pyl'tsevaia diagramma golot- 
senovogo torfianika (Absolute Age and the First 
Standard Pollen Diagram of the Holocene Peat-Bog 
in Northern Siberia). Biulleten' Komissii po izuche- 
niiu chetvertichnogo perioda 41:121-27. Moscow. 

Flerov, Konstantin K. 

1965 proiskhozhdenii fauny Kanady v sviazi 
s istoriei Beringii (On the Origin of the Canadian 
Faunal Assemblage in Connection to the History 
of Beringia). In Chetvertichnyi period i ego istoriia. 
Pp. 121-8. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Formozov, Aleksandr A. 

1970 O termine "mezolit" i ego ekvivalentakh 
(On the Term "Mesolithic" and Its Equivalents). 
Sovetskaia arkheologiia 3:6-11. Moscow. 

Freundt, E. A. 

1948 Komsa-Fosna-Sandarne: Problems of the 
Scandinavian Mesolithic. Acta Archaeologica 
XIX:l-68. Copenhagen. 

Geller, Mikhail Kh., and Boris B. Borzhnov 

1975 Migratsii i sezonnoe razmeshchenie dikikh 
severnykh olenei taimyrskoi populiatsii (Migra- 
tions and Seasonal Distribution of the Taymyr 
Wild Reindeer Population). In Dikii severnyi olen' v 
SSSR. E.E. Syroechkovskii, ed. Pp. 80 8. Moscow: 
Sovetskaia Rossiia Publishing House. 



Generalov, Aleksandr C. 

1979a Neoliticheskaia keramika mnogosloinogo 
poseleniia Kazachka (Neolithic Ceramics from the 
Stratified Site of Kazachka). Kratkie soobshcheniia 
Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 157:43-7. Moscow. 

1979b Neoliticheskie kompleksy mnogosloinogo 
poseleniia Kazachka i ikh znachenie dlia izucheniia 
neolita Krasnoiarsko-Kanskoi lesostepi (Neolithic 
Assemblages from the Stratified Site of Kazachka 
and their Significance for the Neolithic Studies 
of the Krasnoyarsk-Kansk Forest-Steppe Region). 
Abstract of Ph.D. thesis. Leningrad: Leningrad 

Gening, Vladimir F., Valerii T. Petrin, and Lubov' 
L. Kosinskaia 

1973 Pervye poseleniia epokhi paleolita i mezolita 
V Zapadnoi Sibiri (The First Palaeolithic and Meso- 
lithic Sites in West Siberia). Iz istorii Sibiri 5:24-47. 
Tomsk: Tomsk University Publications. 

Gjessing, Gutorm 

1935 Fra Steinalder til Jornalderi Finmark: etnolo- 
giske problemer. Instituttet for sammenlingende 
kulturforskning 3(3). Oslo. 

1942 Yngre Steinalder i Nord-Norge. Instituttet 
for sammenlingende kulturforskning 39. Oslo. 

1943 Traen-Funnene. Instituttet for sammenlin- 
gende kulturforskning 41. Oslo. 

1944 Circumpolar Stone Age. Acta Arctica 2. 

Glushinskii, Petr L, and Leonid P. Khiobystin 
1966 Buolkalaakh — novaia stoianka drevnego 

cheloveka na Krainem Severe Sibiri (Buolkalaakh— 

A New Prehistoric Site in the Siberian Far North). 

Materialy po istorii Sibiri 2:151-9. Novosibirsk: 

Nauka Publishing House. 
Gokhman, ll'ia \. 

1961 Drevnii cherep s Chukotki (An Ancient 
Skull from Chukotka). Zapiski Chukotskogo 
kraevedcheskogo muzela 2:14-8. Magadan. 

Goriunova, Ol'ga L 

1978 Rannie kompleksy monogosloinogo posele- 
niia Ityrkhei (Early Assemblages from the Stratified 
Site of Ityrkhei). Drevniaia istoriia narodov iuga 
Vostochnoi Sibiri 4. M.N. Aksionov, ed. Pp. 70-89. 
Irkutsk: Irkutsk University Publications. 

Gracheva, Galina N. 

1972 Predstavleniia o dushe u avamskikh nga- 
nasan (Beliefs about the Human Soul among the 
Avam River Nganasan). Itogi polevykh rabot Insti- 
tuta etnografii AN SSSR 1:128-38. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1977 Traditsionnye kul'ty nganasan (Traditional 
Cults of the Nganasan). Sbornik Muzela antropolo- 
gii 1 etnografii XXX\\\:2]8-228. Leningrad: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1979 K knige D. K. Zelenina "Kul't ongonov v 
Sibiri" (Notes on the "Ongon Cult in Siberia" by D. 
K. Zelenin) In Problemy slavianskoi etnografii. Pp. 
193-204. Leningrad: Nauka Publishing House. 

Grishin, lurii S. 

1960 Proizvodstvo v tagarskuiu epokhu (Manu- 
facturing during the Tagar Epoch). Materialy i 
issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR 90. O. N. Bader 
and S. V. Kiselev, eds. Pp. 116-206. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

Gromov, V. I. 

1972 S natury, no ne s zhivoi! (From a model not 

from life!) Priroda 9:126. Moscow. 
Gryasnov (Griaznov), Mikhail P. 
1969 Southern Siberia. Geneva: Nagel. 
Guliaev, Vladimir M., T. N. Kononova, N. V. 
Kubenko, German I. Medvedev, and E. A. Strelova 
1976 Raskopki mnogosloinoi stoianki Strizheva 

Cora V doline reki Kan (Excavations of the Stri- 

zhova Cora Stratified Site in the Kan River Valley). 

Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 1975. B. Rybakov, ed. 

P. 231. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 
Gurina, Nina N. 

1953 Pamiatniki epokhi rannego metalla na 
severnom poberezh'e Kol'skogo poluostrova 
(Early Metal Era Sites along the Northern Shore 
of the Kola Peninsula). Materialy i issledovaniia 
po arkheologii SSSR 39:347-407. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1964 Raboty neoliticheskogo otriada Krasnoiar- 
skoi ekspeditsii (Explorations of the Neolithic 
Team of the Krasnoiarsk Expedition). Kratkie 
soobshcheniia Instituta arkheologii SSSR 97: 88-97. 

1971 Novye issledovaniia v severo-zapadnoi 
chasti Kol'skogo poluostrova (New Explorations in 
Northwest Kola Peninsula). Kratkie soobshcheniia 
Instituta arkheologii SSSR 126:94-99. Moscow. 

1973a Drevnie pamiatniki Kol'skogo poluostrova 
(Ancient Sites of the Kola Peninsula). Materialy i 
issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR 172:45-53. Mos- 
cow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1973b Nekotorye dannye novykh issledovanii v 
Evropeiskom Zapoliar'e (Some Data on New Ex- 
plorations of the Far North of European Russia). 
Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta arkheologii SSSR 
137:80-88. Moscow. 

1977a K voprosu o nekotorykh obshchikh chertakh 
mezolita lesnoi i lesostepnoi zon Evropeiskoi chas- 
ti SSSR. (On the Similarities of Mesolithic Materials 
from the Forest and Forest-Steppe Zones of the 
European Part of the USSR). Kratkie soobshcheniia 
Instituta arkheologii SSSR 149:20-30. Moscow. 

1 977b Novye issledovaniia drevnei istorii Kol'skogo 
poluostrova (New Studies on the Ancient History 



of the Kola Peninsula). Priroda i Ekonomika Severa 

6:3-14. Apatity. 
Gurina, Nina N., and Leonid P. Khiobystin 
1975 Zaselenie Arktiki (The Peopling of the 

Arctic). In Pamiotniki kul'tury. Novye otkrytiia. 

Ezhegodnik 1974. Pp. 401-411. Moscow: Nauka 

Publishing House. 
Gurina, Nina N., Boris I. Koshechkin, and Sergei 
A. Strelkov 

1974 Pervobytnye kul'tyry i evoliutsiia eko- 
logicheskoi obstanovki vverkhnem pleistotsene 
i golotsene na poberezh'e Evropeiskoi Arktiki 
(Prehistoric Cultures and Environmental Evolu- 
tion of the Arctic Coastal Zone of European 
Russia in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene). In 
Pervobytnyi chelovek, ego matehal'naia kul'tura i 
prirodnaia sreda v pleistocene i goiocene. Andrei 
A. Velichko, ed. Pp. 231-35. Moscow: Nauka Pub- 
lishing House. 

Gurvich, M'ia S. 

1966 Etnicheskaia istoriia Severo-Vostoka Sibiri 
(The Ethnic History of Northeast Siberia). Trudy 
Instituta etnografii AN SSSR 89. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1977 Kul'tura severnykh iakutov-olenevodov. K 
voprosu o pozdnikh etapakh formirovaniia ia- 
kutskogo naroda (The Culture of North Yakutian 
Reindeer Herders: The Issue of the Late Stages 
in the Formation of the Yakut People). Moscow: 
Nauka Publishing House. 

Gurvich, ll'ia S., and Boris O. Dolgikh, eds. 

1970 Obshchestvennyi stroi u narodov Severnoi 
Sibiri. XVII-nachalo XX veka {Soaa\ Structure of the 
North Siberian Indigenous Peoples, Seventeenth 
to the Early Twentieth Century). Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

Gurvich, ll'ia S., and lurii B. Simchenko 

1980 Etnogenez iukagirov (The Ethnogenesis of 
the Yukagir People). In Etnogenez narodov Severa. 
I. S. Gurvich, ed. Pp. 141-51. Moscow: Nauka Pub- 
lishing House. 

Hagen, Anders 

1963 Problemkompleks Fosna: Opphav-kontakt 
med Kontinentale grupper-forholdet til Komsa. In 
Boplatsproblem vid Kattegatt och Skagerack, sdr- 
tryck ur Fynd. Studier i nordisk arkeologi 5:53-59. 

1967 Norway. Ancient Peoples and Places. Vol. 56. 
New York and Washington: Praeger. 

Harms, R. T. 

1977 The Uralo-Yukaghir Focus System: A Prob- 
lem in Remote Genetic Relationship. Studies in De- 
scriptive and Historical Linguistics: Festschrift for 
Winfred P. Lehmann. P.J. Hopper, ed. Pp. 301-316. 
Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 

Matt, Gudmund 

1919 Notes on Reindeer Nomadism. Memoirs 
of the American Anthropological Association 

Henning, R. 

1962 Nevedomye zemli (Unknown Lands). Vol. 3. 
Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

lakimov (Yakimov), Vsevolod P. 

1950 Cherep cheloveka bronzovogo veka iz la- 
kutii (A Skull of a Bronze Age Man from Yakutia). 
Appendix to: Okladnikov, A. P. Lenskie drevnosti 
(The Lena Relics). Vol. 3. Pp. 189-98. Moscow: 
USSR Academy of Sciences Publications. 

Ikawa, Fumiko 

1964 The Continuity from Non-Ceramic to Ce- 
ramic Cultures in Japan. Arctic Anthropology 2{2): 

Ivanov, Sergei V. 

1954 Materialy po izobrazitel'nomu iskusstvu 
narodov Sibiri XlX-nachala XX veka (Materials 
on the Decorative Art of the Siberian Aboriginal 
Peoples in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth 
Century). Trudy Instituta etnografii AN SSSR 22. 
New series. Moscow: USSR Academy of Sciences 

1 969 Skul'ptura narodov Severa Sibiri vXIX-pervoi 
polovine XX veka (Plastic Arts of Siberian Aborigi- 
nes during the Nineteenth and the First Half of the 
Twentieth Century). Leningrad: Nauka Publishing 

Ivanova, Irina K., ed. 

1963 Absoliutnaia geokhronologiia chetvertich- 
nogo perioda (Absolute Geochronology of the 
Quaternary). Moscow: USSR Academy of Science 

Kanivets, Vladimir I. 

1973 Mezoliticheskie stoianki naSrednei Pechore 
i Use (Mesolithic Sites in the Middle Pechora River 
and Usa River Areas). Materialy po arkheologii 
Evropeiskogo Severa 4:3-23. Syktyvkar. 

1974 Pechorskoe Pripoliar'e. Epokha rannego 
metalla (The Polar Portion of the Pechora River 
Basin during the Early Metal Period). Moscow: 
Nauka Publishing House. 

1976 Paleolit Krainego Severo-Vostoka Evropy 
(The Palaeolithic of the Far Northeast of Europe). 
Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Kanivets, Vladimir I., and Irina V. Vereshchagina 

1973 Novye pamiatniki na Severnoi Dvine (New 
Archaeological Sites in the North Dvina Area). In 
Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 1972. B. A. Rybakov, 
ed. Pp. 15-6. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Kastren, Mattias A. (Castren) 

1860 Puteshestvie po Laplandii, severnoi Rossii i 
Sibiri (AJourney Across Lapland, Northern Russia 



and Siberia). Magazin zemlevedeniia i puteshestvii 

Vl(2). St. Petersburg. 
Kats, Natal'ia I., and S. V. Kats 
1946 Istoriia rastitel'nosti bolot Severa Sibiri kak 

pokazatel' izmenenii poslelednikovogo landshafta 

(The History of Bog Vegetation in North Siberia as 

an Indication of Post-Glacial Landscape Changes). 

Trudy Instituta geografii AN SSSR 37:331-348. 

Khiobystin, Leonid P. 

1964a Mnogosloinoe poselenie Ulan-Khada na 
Baikale. Po materialam raskopok B. E. Petri (The 
Stratified Settlement of Ulan-Khada on Lake Bai- 
kal, Based on Materials Excavated by B. E. Petri). 
Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 
97:25-32. Moscow. 

1954b Drevnie kul'tury poberezh'ia ozera Baikal. 
Avtoreferat kand. Diss. [Ancient Cultures of Lake 
Baikal. Abstract of Ph.D. Thesis). Leningrad: Lenin- 
grad Branch of the Institute of Archaeology, USSR 
Academy of Sciences. 

1965 Drevneishie pamiatniki Baikala (The Oldest 
Archaeological Sites on Lake Baikal). Matehaly i 
issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR 131:252-279. 
Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1967 Issledovaniia na Severe Zapadnoi Sibiri 
(A Survey in Northern West Siberia). In Arkheo- 
logicheskie otkrytiia 1966. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Pp. 
147-9. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1968 Issledovaniia na Taimyre (A Survey on the 
Taymyr Peninsula). In Arkheologlcheskie otkrytiia 

1967. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Pp. 153-5. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1969a Raskopki na Taimyre (Excavations on the 
Taymyr Peninsula). Arkheologlcheskie otkrytiia 

1968. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Pp. 217-8. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1969b O rasselenii predkov samodiiskikh narodov 
V epokhu bronzy (II tys. do n. e.) (On the Distri- 
bution of the Ancestors of the Samodian Peoples 
during the Bronze Age, second millennium B.C.). 
In Etnogenez Narodov Severnoi Azii. Confer- 
ence Abstracts 1. E.I. Ubriatova, ed. Pp. 133-35. 
Novosibirsk: Institute of History, Philology, and 
Philosophy, USSR Academy of Sciences. 

1969c Novoe o drevnem naselenii Taimyra (New 
Data on the Ancient Population of the Taymyr 
Peninsula) In Prolskhozhdenie aborigenov Sibiri i 
ikh iazykov. A. P. Dul'zon, ed. Pp. 141-42. Tomsk: 
Tomsk University Publications. 

1970 Novye pamiatniki basseina rek Anabara i 
Oleneka (New Archaeological Sites on the Anabar 
and Olenek Rivers). In Matehaly po istorii Sibiri 
3:174-79. V. I. Larichev, ed. Novosibirsk: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

1972a Problemy sotsiologii neolita Severnoi Evra- 
zii (Issues in the Sociology of the North Eurasian 
Neolithic). In Okhotniki, sobirateli, rybolovy. A. M. 
Reshetov, ed. Pp. 26-42. Leningrad: Nauka Publish- 
ing House. 

1 972b Rogovye i kostianye izdeliia paleoliticheskikh 
sloev Biriusinskogo poseleniia (Antler and Bone Ar- 
tifacts from the Palaeolithic Layers of the Biryusa 
Site). Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR 
185:150-156. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1973a O drevnem zaselenii Arktiki (On the Ancient 
Peopling of the Arctic). Kratkie soobshcheniia 
Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 136:11-16. Moscow: 
Nauka Publishing House. 

1973b Krainii Severo-Vostok Evropeiskoi chasti 
SSSR V epokhu neolota i rannei bronzy. (The 
Extreme Northeast of the European Part of the 
USSR in the Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age Pe- 
riods). Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR 
172:54-65. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1973c Drevnie kul'tury Taimyra i krupnye et- 
nicheskie obshchnosti Sibiri (Ancient Cultures of 
the Taymyr Peninsula and Large Ethnic Commu- 
nities of Siberia). In Proiskhzohdenie aborigenov 
Sibiri i ikh iazykov. Pp. 163-6. Tomsk: Tomsk 
University Publications. 

1975 Pamiatniki Sibirskogo Zapoliar'ia i ikh soot- 
noshenie s kul'turami taezhnoi zony (Archaeologi- 
cal Sites of the Siberian Polar Region and Their 
Correlation with the Boreal Forest Zone Cultures). 
In Sootnoshenie drevnikh kul'tur Sibiri s kul'turami 
sopredel'nykh territorli. Pp. 100-110. Novosibirsk: 
Nauka Publishing House. 

1 976 Poselenie Lipovaia Kur'ia v luzhnom Zaural'e 
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1977 Raboty na severe Zapadnoi Sibiri (Surveys 
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1978a Razvedochnye raboty na Kureike (Surveys 
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1978b Vozrast i sootnoshenie neoliticheskikh 
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1979a Ob etnicheskoi prinadlezhnosti arkheo- 
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1979b Raboty v basseine Kondy (Surveys in the 
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Khiobystin, Leonid P., and Galina N. Gracheva 

1970 Issledovaniia v Centrarnoi chasti Taimyra 
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1971 Issledovaniia v ust'e Eniseia (Surveys of the 
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1972 Raboty Zapoliarnogo otriada naTaimyre (A 
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1 973 Novye dannye o drevnostiakh Taimyra (New 
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1974 Poiavlenie olenevodstva v tundrovoi zone 
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1975 Raboty Zapoliarnoi ekspeditsii (Surveys by 
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Khiobystin, Leonid P., and Galina M. Levkovskaia 

1974 Rol' sotsial'nogo i ekologicheskogo fak- 
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1974 Raboty na poluostrove Taimyr (Surveys in 
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Khiobystin, Leonid P., and Oleg V. Ovsiannikov 

1973 Drevniaia"iuvelirnaia" masterskaia v Zapad- 
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1976 Drevnie pamiatniki na zapade plato Puto- 
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1961 O proiskhozhdenii minusinskikh kolen- 
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1965 Nentsy (The Nenets). Moscow and Lenin- 
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1949 Arkheologicheskie issledovaniia na reke Ni- 
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1 960 Zoomorfnye izobrazheniia na neoliticheskoi 
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Sovetskaia arkheologiia 2:228-29. Moscow. 

1966 Neoliticheskii mogil'nik na stadione "Loko- 
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1970 Kul'tura eneolita i bronzy na Baikale (The 
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Khotinskii, Nikita A. 

1971 Opyt transevraziiskoi korreliatsii sobytii 
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1971 K istorii rastitel'nosti nizov'ev lany v golot- 
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1974 Geokhronologiia pozdnego antropogena 
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1973 Ocherki drevnei istorii Zabaikal'ia (An Es- 
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1976 Poselenie Tukh-Emtor IV— pamiatnik Vasi- 
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Kiriushin, lurii F. and Aleksei M. Maloletko 

1979 Bronzovyi vek Vasyugan'ia (The Bronze 

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1951 Drevniaia istohia luzhnoi Sibiri (Ancient His- 
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1965 Nekotorye itogi izucheniia mezolita Volgo- 
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Sovetskaia arkheologiia 4:17-22. Moscow. 

1 977 Final'nyi paleoiit i mezolit luzhnoi i Vostoch- 
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Konstantinov, Ivan V. 

1970 Neoiiticheskie stoianki na Oleneke (Neolithic 
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1978 Rannii zheleznyi vek lakutii (The Early Iron 
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1979 Paleoiit Khilka i Chikoia. Avtoreferat kand. 
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Konstantinov, Mikhail V., and V. F. Nemerov 
1976 Issledovaniia v Zapadnom Zabaikal'e (Sur- 
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1969 Orudiia truda i okhoty neoliticheskikh pie- 
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1964 Bronzovyi vek srednego Priirtysh'ia. Av- 
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1972 Nekotorye voprosy etnicheskoi istorii Za- 
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1974 Drevnie kul'tury Tomsko-Narymskogo 
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1979 Srednee Zaural'e v perekhodnoe vremia 
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Kovaleva, Valentina T., and Nikolai V. Varankin 
1976 K voprosu proiskhozhdeniia boborykinskoi 

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1980 Poseleniia s lineino-nakol'chatoi keramikoi 
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1958 lukagirskii iazyk (The Yukagir Language). 

Moscow and Leningrad: USSR Academy of Sciences 

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1 968 Neolit luzhnogo Urala (The Neolithic of the 
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1970 Nekotorye dannye o neolite i rannei bronze 
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1975 Prirodnaia sreda i evoliutsiia tundrovogo 
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1976 Stanovlenie krupnotabunnogo olenevod- 
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1960 Drevniaia istoriia Severnogo Kavkaza (An- 
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1974 Palinologicheskoe i geokhronologiches- 
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Kupriianova, Zoia N. 

1 965 Epicheskie pesni nentsev (Epic Songs of the 

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1952 Drevneishee svidetel'stvo ob olenevodstve 
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1 960 Tashtykskaia epokha v istorii Khakassko-Mi- 
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1851 Bereg mezhdu Leny i Eniseia. Zapiski leiten- 
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1958 Ocherk etnicheskoi istorii Pechorskogo kraia 
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1917 The Reindeer and its Domestication. Mem- 
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Lavrushin, \. A., A. L. Devirts, Roza E. Giterman, 
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1963 Pervye dannye po absoliutnoi khronologii 
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1958 Etnicheskaia antropologiia i problemy et- 
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1971 O palinologicheskikh granitsakh razlich- 
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1976 Paleogeoraf icheskie rubezhi golotsena 
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1977 Istoriia golotsenovogo obleseniia Arktiki 
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1972 Absoliutnyi i otnositel'nyi vozrast pamiat- 
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1 979 Traditsionnye ukrasheniia aleutov (k voprosu 
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1980. Kamennyi vek Minusinskoi kotloviny. Av- 
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1876 Doistoricheskie vremena Hi pervobytnaia 
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1956a Die Askola-Kultur. Suomen Muinaismuistoy- 
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1967 Die Suomusjarvi-Kultur: Die mittei- und 
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1979 Materialy po olenevodstvu vostochnykh 
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1971 Material'naia kui'tura saamov (loparei) 
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1972 Drevnie kul'tury Izhmy (Ancient Cultures 
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1969 Ocherki teorii kul'tury {Essay on the Theory 
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1976 Ekonomika i sotsial'nyi stroi drevnikh ob- 
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1964a K izucheniiu mezolita i neolita v Bashkirii 
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1964b Sledy m e zo I i t i c h e s k i k h sloev na 
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1969 O kharaktere material'noi kul'tury Iuzhnogo 
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1976 Mezolit Iuzhnogo Urala (The South Ural 
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1966 Neoliticheskaya stoianka u derevni Novo- 
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1966 Evidence for an Early Recent Warm Interval 
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1975 Mezolit luga Vostochnoi Sibiri (The Me- 
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1978 O khronologii rannego neolita Severnogo 
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1948 Paleoaziatskie iazyki (Palaeo-Asiatic Lan- 
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1869 Puteshestvie na sever i vostok Sibih. Sever 
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1966 Rannii neolit Aldana (The Early Neolithic 
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1969 Mnogosloinaia stoianka Bel'kachi I i peri- 
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1970 Diuktaiskaia peshchera — novyi pa- 
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1973b Severo-Vostochnaia Aziia V IX-IVtys. do n.e. 
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1977 Drevneishie etapy zaseleniia chelovekom 
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Mochanov, lurii A., and Svetlana A. Fedoseeva 

1975a Absoliutnaia khronologiia golotsenovykh 
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1975b Periodiztsiia i absoliutnaia khronologoia 
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1970 Mnogosloinaia stoianka Bel'kachi I i ee 
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1964 Novonikol'skoe IV gorodishche (v sviazi s 
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1965 Anan'ievskoe gorodishche i vopros o vre- 
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1968 Kul'tura piemen lesnogo Priirtysh'ia 
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1953 Material'naia kul'tura i khoziaistvo Ust'- 
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1965 Arkheologocheskie pamiatniki Severa Za- 
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1969 V stranu budushchego. Velikii Severnui 
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1963a Drevnie zhilishcha u sela Makovskogo (Old 
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1963b Materialy k arkheologicheskoi karte Severa 
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1971 Kratkie zametki o posdnechetvertichnoi 
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1966 Komsakulturen i Nesseby og Sor-Varan- 
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1943 Istoricheskii put' narodov lakutii (A Historical 
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1945 Lenskie drevnosti (Antiquities of the Lena 
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1946 Lenskie drevnosti (Antiquities of the Lena 
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1947a Drevnie poseleniia v doline reki Khatangi 
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1947b Drevnie kul'tury Severo-Vostochnoi Azii po 
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1948 K izucheniiu neolita Vostochnogo Priural'ia 
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1950a Vklad sovetskoi arkheologil v izuchenie 
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1950b Lenskie drevnosti (Antiquities of the Lena 
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1950c Neolit i bronzovyy vek Pribaikal'ia (The 
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1951 Raskopki na Severe (Excavations in the 
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1953 Drevnie kul'turnye sviazi mezhdu pleme- 
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1 955a tstoriia lakutskoi ASSR. Tom I. lakutiia do pri- 
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1955b Neolit i bronzovyy vek Pribaikal'ia. Chast' 
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1957 Iz istorii etnicheskikh i kul'turnykh sviazei 
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1958 Arkheologicheskie raboty v zone stroi- 
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1959 Paleolit Zabaikal'ia. Obshchie itogi (The 
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1960a Archaeology of the Soviet Arctic. Acta Arc- 
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1960b Arkheologiia i problema kul'turnogo 
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1966a K voprosu o mezolite i epipaleolite v aziats- 
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1966b Petroglify Angary {The Petroglyphs of the 
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1968 Sibir' v drevnekamennom veke. Epokha 
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1971a Mnogosloinoe poselenie Sannyi Mys na reke 
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1971b Zhertvennoe mesto glazkovtsev na reke 
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1976 Neoliticheskie pamiatniki Nizhnei Angary 
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Okladnikov, Aleksei P., and Anatolii P. 

1977 Cromatukhinskaia kul'tura (The Groma- 
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Okladnikov, Aleksei P., and ll'ia S. Gurvich 

1957 Drevnie poseleniia v del'te reki Indigirki 
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1959 Neolitichskie pamiatniki vdoline reki Olenek 
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1937 Obzor arkheologicheskikh nakhodok za 
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1978 Mezolit i neolit Karelii. I. Mezolit (The Meso- 
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1978 Mezoliticheskie pamiatniki Kandalakshin- 
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1916 Neolitichskie nakhodki na beregu Baikala. 
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1975 Paleoliticheskii pamiatnik v Shikaevke na 
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1 976 Novye stoianki neolita Kamchatki (New Neo- 
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1936 Tavgiitsy {The Tavgi). Trudy Instituta antro- 
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1948 Nganasany{J[}e Nganasan). Trudy Instituta 
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1959 Die "kuojka." Familian- und Sippeschutsgeis- 
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1969 Arkheologicheskie raboty na reke Vakh 
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1970 O Sanus' IV i ego vremeni (On the Samus IV 
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1972 Kul'turno-etnicheskoe mesto kompleksov 
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1973a Bol'shelar'iakskoe poselenie II— arkheolo- 
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1973b O kul'turno-etnicheskoi prinadlezhnosti 
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Iz istorii Sibiri 7:95-107. Tomsk: Tomsk University 

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1939 Chislitel'nye v samodiiskikh iazykah (Nu- 
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1940 Etnogoniia narodnostei Ob'-leniseiskogo 
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1971 Shamanskie kostiumy narodov Sibiri (Sha- 
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1 947 Istoriia pervobytnogo obshchestva. (History 
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1962 Osnovnye itogi i zadachi izucheniia pa- 
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1966 Nekotorye voprosy izucheniia epipa- 
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1933 Materialy po metalionoskosti Sibirskikh 
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1947 Drevniaia kul'tura Beringova moria i eski- 
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1917 leniseiskie tungusy. Chast' I (The Tungus 
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1959 Pisanitsy bliz ozera Shira (Rock Art near Shi- 
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1802 Puteslnestvie flota kapitana Saryclneva po 
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1976 Keramicheskie kompleksy mnogosloinogo 
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1974 Raskopki mnogosloinoi stoianki Goreiyi Les 
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1910 Pamiatniki izobrazitel'nogo iskusstva na 
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1930 Drevnii mogil'nik na Kol'skom zaiive (An An- 
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1976 Issledovania mezolita v lesnom Zaural'e 
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Serikov, lurii B., and Victor A. Arefyev (Aref'iev) 

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1978 Kurlinskii beskeramicheskii kompleks 
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1957 Izmenchivost' obshchei uvlazhnennosti 
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1968 Nekotorye dannye o drevnem etnicheskom 
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1976 Kul'tura okhotnikov na olenei Severnoi 
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1965 Drevnie klimaty Evrazii. (Ancient Climates 
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1956 Olennye kamni Mongolii i problema proisk- 
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1980 Mezolit i neolit Lesnogo Zaural'ia (The Meso- 
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1966. Arkheologicheskie issledovania na sever- 
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1975 Dikii severnyi olen' V SSSR{W\\6 Reindeer in 
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1961 Predskifskii period na dneprovskom 
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1976 Kimmeriitsy (Cimmerians). Kiev: Naukova 
Dumka Publishing House. 

Titov, Andrei A. 

1890 Sibir' V XVII veke. Sbornik starinnykh 
russkikh statei o Sibiri i prilezhashchikh k nei 
zemliakh (Siberia in the Seventeenth Century. A 
Collection of the Old Russian Narratives on Siberia 
and Neighboring Countries). Moscow. 

Tikhomirov, Boris A. 

1950 K kharakteristike rastitel'nogo pokrova 
epokhi mamonta na Taimyre (On the Vegetation 
Cover of the Taymyr Peninsula during the Mam- 
moth Era). Botanicheskil zhurnal 35(5):482-97. 

1962 Osnovnye etapy razvitiia rastitel'nosti Se- 
vera SSSR v sviazi s klimaticheskimi kolebaniiami i 
deiatel'nost'iu cheloveka (Transitions in the Vegeta- 
tion Cover of the North of the USSR, as Related to 
Climatic Fluctuations and Human Activities). Biul- 
leten' Moskovskogo obshchestva ispytatelei prirody, 
Otdelenie biologii 67 (l):34-58. Moscow. 



Tikhonov, Boris C. 

1960 Metallicheskie izdeliia epokhi bronzy na 
Srednem Urale i v Priural'e (Bronze Age Metallic 
Objects from the Middle Urals and the Cis-Ural Re- 
gion). Matehaly i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR 
90:5-115. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Tret'iakov, Petr N. 

1963 Pozdnemezoliticheskie mestonakhozhde- 
niia Kostromskogo i laroslavskogo Povolzh'ia (The 
Late Mesolithic Sites in the Kostroma and Yaroslavl 
Areas of the Volga Region). Materialy i issledova- 
niia po arl<heologii SSSR 1 1 0:9-24. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

Tseitlin, Semen M. 

1 979 Geologiia paleolita Severnoi Azii (Geology of 
the Palaeolithic in Northern Asia). Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

Tugolukov, Vladilen A. 

1980 Etnicheskie korni tungusov (Ethnic Roots 
of the Tungus). In Etnogenez narodov Severa. I. S. 
Gurvich, ed. Pp. 1 52-176. Moscow: Nauka Publish- 
ing House. 

Vainshtein, Sev'ian I. 

1970 Problema proiskhozhdeniia olenevodstva v 
Evrazii (1: Saianskii ochag odomashnivaniia olenia) 
(The Problem of the Origins of Reindeer Breeding 
in Eurasia, 1 : The Sayan Center of Reindeer Domes- 
tication). Sovetsl<aia etnografiia 6:3-]4. Moscow. 

1971 Problema proiskhozhdeniia olenevodstva v 
levrazii, 2: Rol' Saianskogo ochaga odomashniva- 
niia olenia v rasprostranenii olenevodstva (The 
Problem of the Origins of Reindeer Breeding in 
Eurasia, 2: The Role of the Sayan Center of Do- 
mestication in the Spread of Reindeer Breeding). 
Sovetsl<aia etnografiia 5:37-52. Moscow. 

1972 lstorlcliesl<aia etnografiia tuvintsev. Prob- 
lemy l<oclnevogo l<lnoziaistva (Historical Ethnogra- 
phy of the Tuvinians: Studies in Nomadic Econo- 
mies). Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Vankina, L. V., F. A. Zagorskis, and lize A. Loze 

1973 Neoliticheskie plemena Latvii (Neolithic 
Tribes of Latvia). Materialy i issledovaniia po 
arkheologii SSSR 172:210-217. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

Vasari, Yrio 

1962 A Study of the Vegetational History of the 
Kuusamo District (northeast Finland) during the 
Late Quarternary Period. Annual Botanical Society 
"Vanamo" 33(1). 

Vasil'ev, Vladimir I. 

1962 Sistema olenevodstva lesnykh entsev i 
ee proiskhozhdenie (The Reindeer Breeding 
Economy of the Forest Enets and its Origins). 
Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta etnografii AN SSSR 
37:67-65. Moscow. 

1 979 Problemy formirovania severosamodiiskikh 
narodnostei (\ssues in the Formation of the North 
Samodian Peoples). Moscow: Nauka Publishing 

Vasil'evskii, Ruslan S. 

1971 Proiskhozhdenie i drevniaia kul'tura ko- 
riakov (The Origins and Ancient Culture of the 
Koryak). Novosibirsk: Nauka Publishing House. 

1973 Drevnie kul'tury Tikhookeanskogo Severa 
(The Ancient Cultures of the North Pacific Region). 
Novosibirsk: Nauka Publishing House. 

Vdovin, Innokentii S. 

1971 Zhertvennye mesta koriakov i ikh istoriko- 
etnograficheskoe znachenie (Koryak Sacrificial 
Sites and Their Historical and Ethnographic Sig- 
nificance). Sbornik Muzeia antropologii i etnografii 
AN SSSR 27:275-99. Leningrad: Nauka Publishing 

Vereshchagin, Nikolai K. 

1979 Pochemu vymerii mamonty {SNhy the Mam- 
moths Died Out). Leningrad: Nauka Publishing 

Vereshchagin, Nikolai K., and lurii A. Mochanov 

1972 Samye severnye v mire sledy verkhnego 
paleolita (Berelekhskoe mestonakhozhdenie v 
nizov'iakh Indigirki) (The Northernmost Upper 
Palaeolithic Site: The Berelekh Site in the Lower 
Indigirka River Region). Sovetskaia arkheologiia 
3:332-336. Moscow. 

Vereshchagina, Irina V. 

1973 Pamiatniki s mezoliticheskim inventarem 
Bol'shezemel'skoi tundry (Sites with Mesolithic- 
Type Stone Inventory from the Bolshezemelskaya 
Tundra Region). In Materialy po arkheologii Evro- 
peiskogo Severo-Vostoka 5:3-21. Syktyvkar. 

Viktorova, Valentina D. 

1968 Pamiatniki Lesnogo Zaural'ia X-XIII vv. n.e. 
(Sites of the Forest Boreal Zone of the Trans-Ural 
Region, Tenth through Thirteenth Centuries A.D.) 
Uchenye zapiski Permskogo universiteta 191:240- 
256. Perm: Perm University Publications. 

1970 Etapy razvitiia figurno-shtampovannoi or- 
namentatsii na sosudakh pamiatnikov basseina 
reki Tavdy (Evolution of Figure-Impressed Ceram- 
ics as Seen on the Vessels from the Tavda River 
Basin Sites). In Problemy khronologii i kul'turnoi 
prinadlezhnosti arkheologocheskikh pamiatnikov 
Zapadnoi Sibiri. Pp. 254-270. Tomsk: Tomsk State 
University Publications. 

Zamiatnin, Sergei N. 

1960 Nekotorye voprosy izucheniia khoziaistva 
V epokhu paleoloita (Some Issues in Economic 
Studies of the Palaeolithic Era). Trudy Instituta 
etnografii AN SSSR 54:80-108. Moscow: USSR 
Academy of Sciences Publications. 



Zemliakov, Boris F. 

1937 Arkticheskii paleolit na Severe SSSR (Arctic 

Palaeolithic Culture in the North of the USSR). 

Trudy Komissii po izucheniiu chetvertichnogo peh- 

oda 5(l):69-87. Moscow. 
1940 Arkticheskii paleolit na Severe SSSR (Arctic 

Palaeolithic Culture in the North of the USSR). 

Sovetskaia arkheologiia 5:107-143. Leningrad and 

Zhuravskii, Andrei V. 

1909 Rezul'taty issledovanii Pripoliarnogo 
Zapechor'ia v 1907 i 1908 gg. (Results of Surveys 
in the Pechora Polar Area in 1907 and 1908). Iz- 
vestyia Russkogo Ceogmficheskogo obshchestva 
45:197-207. St. Petersburg. 

Ziablin, Leonid P. 

1 973 Neoliticheskoe poselenie Uniuk na Verkhnem 
Enisee (The Unyuk Neolithic Site in the Upper Yenisey 
River Area). In Problemy arkheologii Umla i Sibiri. Pp. 
65-73. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Zolotareva, Irina M. 

1962 Antropologicheskie issledovaniia ngana- 
san (Studies in the Physical Anthropology of the 
Nganasan). Sovetskaia etnogmfiia 6:131-136. 

1968 lukagiry (antropologicheskii ocherk) (The 
Yukagir: Notes on Physical Anthropology). In Prob- 
lemy antropologii i istoricheskoi etnografii Azii. 
V. P. Alekseev and I. S. Gurvich, eds. Pp. 148-177. 
Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

1971 O nekotorykh problemakh etnicheskoi 
antropologii Severnoi Azii (v sviazi s rabotami 
G. F. Debets) (On Certain Issues in the Physical 

Anthropology of Northern Asia in Relation to the 
Studies by G. F Debets). Sovetskaia etnografiia 
1:36-45. Moscow. 

1 975 Antropologiia nekotorykh narodov Severnoi 
Azii (The Physical Anthropology of Some Aborigi- 
nal Ethnic Groups of Northern Asia). In lukagiry 
(istoriko-etnograficheskii ocherk). A. P Okladnikov, 
ed. Pp. 97-110. Novosibirsk: Nauka Publishing 

Zubkov, A. \. 

1948 Novye dannye o rasprostranenii drevesnoi 
rastitel'nosti na Taimyrskom poluostrove v po- 
slelednikovoe vremia (New Data on the Distribu- 
tion of Forest Vegetation on the Taymyr Peninsula 
in the Post-Glacial Era). Doklady Akademii Nauk 
SSSR, new series, 61(4):721-723. Moscow. 

Zuev, Vasilii F. 

1947 Materialy po etnografii Sibiri XVIII veka 
(1771-1772) (Materials for the Ethnography of Si- 
beria in the Eighteenth Century, 1771-1 772.) Trudy 
Instituta etnografii AN SSSR, New series, 5. Mos- 
cow: USSR Academy of Sciences Publications. 

Zykov, Ivan E. 

1975 Nekotorye voprosy izucheniia neolita lakutii 
(Issues in Neolithic Studies in Yakutia). In Voprosy 
istorii i sotsiologii narodov lakutii. Pp. 63-71. Ya- 
kutsk: Yakutsk Publishing House. 

1978 Novye dannye o vremeni perekhoda ot 
neolita k bronzovomu veku v lakutii (New Data on 
the Neolithic-Bronze Age Transition in Yakutia). In 
Ideino-politicheskoe vospitanie molodezhi v svete 
reshenii XXV s'ezda KPSS. Pp. 36-38. Yakutsk: 
Yakutsk Publishing House. 



1 74/ Leonid P. Khiobystin rests in a hunting cabin in the abandoned village of Khabarovo, Kara Sea coast, 
in summer 1 984. Inl< drawing by Evgenii Zaitsev. liMK Archives, St. Petersburg, File P-l, no. 1 294, sheet 38. 

dix 1 publications of 

Leonid p. j<(^!ilo!3t)5tin 


K voprosu o periodizatsii chetvertichnyh otiozhenii 
(On the Periodization of Quaternary Deposits). 
Co-authored with Galina F. Korobkova. Sovetskaia 
arkheologiia 3:270-72. IVIoscow. 


Novaia stoianka v Pechorskom Zapoliarie (A New 
Site in the Pechora Polar Region). Co-authored 
with Nikolai P. Piadyshev. Kratkie soobshcheniia 
Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 92:71 -5. Moscow. 


Gorodishche u derevni Seriupitino (An Ancient 
Settlement near the Village of Seryupitino). 
Co-authored with Abram D. Stoliar. Materialy i 
issledovania po arkheologii SSSR 110:227-38. 

K istorii nerpichiego promysia na Baikale (On the 
History of Seal Hunting in the Lake Baikal Region). 
Sovetskaia arkheologiia 1 :12-9. Moscow. 


Drevnie kultury poberezhia ozera Baikal (kamennyi 
i bronzovyi veka) (Ancient Cultures of the Lake 
Baikal Shore during the Stone and Bronze Ages). 
Abstract of Ph.D. dissertation. Leningrad: Lenin- 
grad Branch of the Institute of Archeology, USSR 
Academy of Sciences. 

Mnogosloinoe poselenie Ulan-Khada na Baikale (po 
materialam raskopok B. E. Petri) (The Stratified 
Settlement of Ulan-Khada on Lake Baikal, Based 
on Materials Excavated by B. E. Petri). Kratkie 
soobshcheniia Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 
97:25-32. Moscow. 

O drevnem kulte nerpy na Baikale (On the Ancient 
Seal Cult on Lake Baikal). Kratkie soobshche- 
niia Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 101:35-7. 

Rabota sektora paleolita lA AN SSSR v 1 962 g (The 
Activities of the Paleolithic Department of the 

Institute of Archeology of the USSR Academy of 
Sciences in 1 962). Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta 
arkheologii AN SSSR 97:1 3 5-3 7. 


Drevneishie pamyatniki Baikala (The Oldest Archeo- 
logical Sites on Lake Baikal). Materialy i issledo- 
vaniia po arkheologii SSSR 1 31 :2 52-79. 


Buolkalaakh— novaia stoianka drevnego cheloveka 
na Krainem Severe Sibiri (Buolkalaakh— A Newly 
Discovered Ancient Site in the Extreme North 
of Siberia). Co-authored with Petr I. Glushinskii. 
Sibirskii arkheologicheskii sbornik 2:151-59. 
Aleksei P. Okladnikov, ed. Novosibirsk: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

Drevnee zaselenie Sibirskoi arktiki (Ancient Coloni- 
zation of the Siberian Arctic). In Neolit i bronzovyi 
vek. Tezisy dokladov, pp. 38-9. Moscow: Plenum 
Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR. 

Neoliticheskoe pogrebenie bliz derevni Baikalovo 
na Enisee (A Neolithic Burial near the Village of 
Baikalovo on the Yenisey River). Co-authored with 
lakov A. Sher. Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta 
arkheologii AN SSSR 1 06:5 1 -4. 

Raskopki na Srednem Enisee (Excavations on the 
Middle Yenisey). Co-authored with lakov A. Sher. 
In Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 1965 goda. B. A. 
Rybakov, ed. Pp. 10-12. Moscow: Nauka Publish- 
ing House. 


Arkheologicheskie issledovania v okrestnostyah s. 
Seliyarova na Obi i v basseine r. Kondy v 1966 
g. (Archeological Surveys near Seliyarovo Village 
on the Ob River and in the Konda River Basin in 
1 966). Ural'skoe arkheologicheskoe soveshchanle 
5:140-41. Syktyvkar. 


Dostizheniia arkheologicherskoi nauki v RSFSR 
(Achievements of Archeological Science in the 
Russian Federation). Co-authored with A. N. 
Rogachev, N. N. Gurina, V. P. Liubin, E. A. 
Vekilova, and L. la. Krizhevskaia. Sovetskaia 
arkheologiia 3:9-19. Moscow. 

Izuchenie drevnikh kul'tur poluostrova lamal (Stud- 
ies of the Ancient Cultures of the Yamal Penin- 
sula). Ural'skoe arkheologicheskoe soveshchanie 
5:142-44. Syktyvkar. 

Issledovaniia na severe Zapadnoi Sibiri (A Survey in 
Northern West Siberia). In Arkheologicheskie ot- 
krytiia 1966goda. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Pp. 147-49. 
Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Liteinaia forma iz luzhnogo Zauralia (A Mold from 
the Southern Trans-Ural Region). Co-authored 
with Marianna D. Khiobystina. Sovetskaia arkhe- 
ologiia 2:236-40. 

Sektor paleolita v 1963-1965 gg. (The Paleolithic 
Department in 1963-1965). Kratkie soobslnche- 
niia Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 1 1 1 :1 26-29. 


Issledovaniia na Taimyre (A Survey of the Taymyr 
Peninsula). In Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 1967 
goda. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Pp. 1 53-55. Moscow: 
Nauka: Nauka Publishing House. 

Lipovaia Kur'ia— poselenie andronoidnoi kultury 
luzhnogo Zaural'ia (The Lipovaya Kuria Site— An 
Ancient "Andronoid" Settlement in the Southern 
Trans-Ural Region). Kratkie soobshcheniia Insti- 
tuta arkheologii AN SSSR 1 1 4:76-83. 


lorkutinskaia stoianka na poluostrove lamal (The 
Vorkuta Site on the Yamal Peninsula). Co-authored 
with lurii G. Korolev. Kratkie soobshcheniia Insti- 
tuta arkheologii AN SSSR 1 1 5:79-83. 

Na meste drevnikh poselenii (On the Location of An- 
cient Sites). Co-authored with Galina N. Gracheva. 
Zapoliarnaia pravda 224. Norilsk. 

Novoe o drevnem naselenii Taimyra (New Data on 
the Ancient Population of the Taymyr Peninsula). 
In Proiskhozhdenie aborigenov Sibiri i ikh iazykov. 
A. P. Dul'zon, ed. Pp. 141-42. Tomsk: Tomsk 
University Publications. 

O rasselenii predkov samodiiskih narodov v epohu 
bronzy (On the Distribution of the Ancestors of 
the Samodian Peoples during the Bronze Age). 
In Etnogenez narodov Severnoi Azii. Conference 
Abstracts 2. E. I. Ubriatova, ed. Pp. 1 33-35. 
Novosibirsk: Institute of History, Philology, and 
Philosophy, USSR Academy of Sciences. 

Ob okhrane arkheologicheskih pamiatnikov na 
severe Zapadnoi Sibiri (On the Protection of 

Archeological Sites in Northern West Siberia). In 
Nauchnaia konferentsiia po voprosam izucheniia 
i ohrany pamiatnikov Sibiri i Dalnego Vostoka v 
sviazi s podgotovkoi svoda pamiatnikov istorii i 
kul'tury. Pp. 87-9. Tobolsk. 
Poiski pamiatnikov kamennogo veka v Kopet-Dage 
(The Search for Stone Age Sites in the Kopet-Dag 
Mountains). In Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 1968 
goda. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Co-authored with Igor 
N. KhIopin. P. 430. Moscow: Nauka Publishing 

Raskopki na Taimyre (Excavations in the Taymyr 

Peninsula). In Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 1968 

goda. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Pp. 217-18. Moscow: 

Nauka Publishing House. 
The Stratified Settlement of Ulan-Khada on Lake 

Baikal (based on materials excavated by B. E. 

Petri), Arctic Anthropology 6(1 ):88-94. 
Supplement to Senta Ficher-Lubendun's work "Der 

Renjard in Eurasien," Archiv fur Volkerkunde 

(Vienna) 23. 


Issledovaniia v tsentral'noi chasti Taimyra (Surveys 
in the Central Taymyr Peninsula). Co-authored 
with Galina N. Gracheva. In Arkheologicheskie ot- 
krytiia 1 969 goda. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Pp. 1 92-93. 
Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Novye pamiatniki basseina rek Anabara i Oleneka 
(New Archeological Sites on the Anabar and Ole- 
nek Rivers). In Materialy po istorii Sibiri 3 . ^ 74-79. 
Vitalii E. Larichev, ed. Novosibirsk: Nauka Publish- 
ing House. 


Drevneishaia liteinaia forma s antropomorfnym 
izobrazheniem iz Zapolyar'ia (The Oldest Mold 
with an Anthropomorphic Image from the Polar 
Region). Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta arkhe- 
ologii AN SSSR 127:1 14-16. 

Issledovaniia v ust'e Eniseia (Surveys of the Yenisey 
River Mouth Region). In Arkheologicheskie ot- 
krytiia 1 970 goda. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Co-authored 
with Galina N. Gracheva. Pp. 220-21. Moscow: 
Nauka Publishing House. 

Palinologicheskie dannye po arkheologicheskomu 
pamiatniku Tagenar VI (mezolit i rannii neolit) 
na poluostrove Taimyr (Palynological Data on 
the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic Site of Tagenar 
VI on the Taymyr Peninsula). In Tezisy dokladov 
k 3 Mezhdunarodnoi palinologicheskoi konfer- 
entsii. Sektsiia 7. Co-authored with Galina M. 
Levkovskaia, Anatolii A. Sementsov, and Elena N. 
Romanova. Pp. 1 30-33. Novosibirsk. 




Absoliutnyi i otnositelnyi vozrast pamiatnika 
Tagenar VI (Absolute and Relative Age of the 
Tagenar VI Site). In Problemy absoliutnogo dat- 
irovania v arkheologii. Boris A. Kolchin, ed. Pp. 
1 30-3. Co-authored with Galina M. Levkovskaia, 
Anatoly A. Sementsov, and Elena N. Romanova. 
Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Izdeliia iz kosti i roga paleoliticheskikh sloev Biriusin- 
skogo poseleniia (Bone and Antler Artifacts from 
the Paleolithic Layers of the Biryusa Site). Materialy 
i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR 185:1 50-56. 
Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Issledovaniia Instituta arkheologii v Arktike (The 
Work of the Institute of Archeology in the Arctic). 
In Kratkie tezisy dokladov k plenumu, posvi- 
ashchennomu itogam arkheologicheskikh issledo- 
vanii 1971 g. Pp. 7-1 0. Co-authored with Nina N. 
Gurina. Leningrad: Institute of Archeology. 

Obmen v epokhu neolita i bronzy (po materialam 
arkheologii Sibiri) (Exchange in the Neolithic and 
Bronze Ages, Based upon Siberian Archeological 
Materials). In Obmen i torgovlia v drevnikh ob- 
shchestvakh. Pp. 9-12. Leningrad. 

Poselenie razvitogo neolita Maimeche I i ego mesto 
v neolite Vostochnoi Sibiri (The Developed Neo- 
lithic Settlement of Maimeche I and its Place in the 
Neolithic of Eastern Siberia). Kratkie soobshche- 
niia Insituta arkheologii AN SSSR 131:99-106. 
Moscow and Leningrad. 

Problemy sotsiologii neolita Severnoi Evrazii (So- 
ciological Problems in the Study of the Neolithic 
of Northern Eurasia). In Okhotniki, sobirateli, 
rybolovy. Aleksei M. Reshetov, ed. Pp. 26-42. 
Leningrad: Nauka Publishing House. 

Raboty Zapoliarnogo otriada na Taimyre (The Work 
of the Polar Expedition in Taymyr). In Arkheo- 
logicheskie otkrytiia 1971 goda. B. A. Rybakov, 
ed. Co-authored with Galina N. Gracheva. Pp. 
296-7. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Zaselenie Arktiki (The Peopling of the Arctic). In 
Tezisy dokladov na sessii i plenumakh, pos- 
viashchennykh itogam polevykh issledovanii 
V 1971. Pp. 32-36. Co-authored with Nina N. 
Gurina. Moscow: Institute of Archeology. 


Drevneishie pamiatniki Zapadnogo Taimyra (The 
Earliest Sites of Western Taymyr). Kratkie soob- 
shcheniia Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 1 37:89- 
95. Moscow and Leningrad. 

Drevnie kul'tury Taimyra i krupnye etnicheskie ob- 
shchnosti Sibiri (The Ancient Cultures of Taymyr 
and Large Ethnic Communities of Siberia). In 
Proiskhozhdenie aborigenov Sibiri i ikh iazykov. 

E. G. Bekker, et al., eds. Pp. 1 63-6. Tomsk: Tomsk 
University Publications. 

Drevniaia "iuvelirnaia masterskaia" v Zapadnosi- 
birskom Zapoliarie (An Ancient "Jewelry Work- 
shop" in the West Siberian Polar Region). In Prob- 
lemy arkheologii Urala i Sibiri. V. N. Chernetsov 
and A. P. Smirnov, eds. Co-authored with Oleg 
V. Ovsyannikov. Pp. 248-57. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

Krainii Severo-Vostok Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR v 
epokhu neolita i rannei bronzy (The Extreme 
Northeast of the European USSR in the Neolithic 
and Early Bronze Ages). Materialy i issledovaniia 
po arkheologii SSSR 1 72:54-65. Moscow: Nauka 
Publishing House. 

Novye dannye o drevnostiakh Taimyra (New Data 
on Taymyr Antiquities). In Arkheologicheskie ot- 
krytiia 1972 goda. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Co-authored 
with Galina N. Gracheva. Pp. 244-5. Moscow: 
Nauka Publishing House. 

O drevnem zaselenii Arktiki (On the Ancient Colo- 
nization of the Arctic). Kratkie soobshcheniia 
Instituta arkheologii AN SSSR 1 36:1 1-6. Moscow 
and Leningrad. 

Osnovnye etapy razvitiia prirody i kultury drevnkih 
obshchestv v Sibirskoi Arktike (Stages in the 
Development of Nature and Culture of Ancient 
Societies in the Siberian Arctic). In Vsesoiuznyi 
simpozium Pervobytnyi chelovek, ego material- 
naia kultura i prirodnaia sreda v pleistotsene 
i golotsene (paleolit i neolit). Tezisy dokladov. 
A. A. Velichko, ed. Co-authored with Galina M. 
Levkovskaia. Pp. 91-4. Moscow. 

Review of "Arkheologicheskoe izuchenie Srednei 
Azii" Ed. I. T. Kruglikova. Co-authored with Gen- 
nady A. Koshelenko. Sovetskaia arkheologiia 
1 :298-301 . 


Poiavlenie olenevodstva v tundrovoi zone Evropy, 
Zapadnoi i Srednei Sibiri (The Appearance of 
Reindeer Breeding in the Tundra Zone of Europe, 
Western, and Central Siberia). In Tezisy dokla- 
dov konferentsii "Formy perekhoda ot prisvai- 
vayushchego khoziaistva k proizvodiashchemu i 
osobennosti razvitiia obshchestvennogo stroia." 
Co-authored with Galina N. Gracheva. Pp. 81-6. 
Moscow: Institute of Archeology. 

Raboty na poluostrove Taimyr (Fieldwork on the 
Taymyr Peninsula). In Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 
1973 goda. B. A. Rybakov, ed. Co-authored with 
Albert N. Melentiev and Svetlana V. Studzitskaia. 
Pp. 229-30. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House. 

Rol' sotsial'nogo i ekologicheskogo faktorov v 
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/Xppendix 2: Suggested f^eadings 

fvlajor f^ooks and /\rt''.c\es on f re historic (^^ultures, [jinvironment, and 
jndis^enous feople of |\Jorthern Illuf"35ia fubii'shed after \99^ 


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Note: Page numbers in italics refer to illustrations. 

Abylaakh I (site), 37, 46, 1 74, 1 78 
Bronze Age settlement at, 85, 86, 

87-90, 91, 96 
dating of ceramics at, 53, 96, 


description of, 45, 47-49 
lithics at, 91-93, 94, 95 
use of bronze at, 1 82, 1 83, 1 84 
See ^?/so Ymiyakhtakh culture 

Abylaakh IV (site), 73, 141 

Abynalaakh (site), 52 

adzes, 65, 66 

Afanasyeva Cora cemetery, 69 
Afontovo culture, 41 
Ago-Neolithic (Epi-Neolithic), 19, 45 
Agro-Neolithic, 1 9 
Alaska: ceramics from, 108 
Aldan River region, 43, 52, 54, 1 1 1 

ceramics from, 147, 148 
Allerod period, 1 1, 12, 195 
alloys, 90, 182, 183 

See also bronze; bronze casting 
Altai language family, 1 51 
amber: used for ornaments, 69 
amulets, 1 84 
Amur region, 1 51 
analogy: ethnographic, 1 71 -1 72 
Andreev, German I., 75, 1 37 
Andronovo culture, 84, 117, 1 88 

ceramics, 1 62 
Angara River region: ceramics from, 

149, 1 50-1 51 

prehistory of, 40, 41 , 42 
antimony, 1 82, 1 83 
antler, 96, 1 54 
Anttila II (site), 103, 104 
anvils; for flint knapping, 59, 60, 65 
architecture. See choom (structure); 

arrowheads: for hunting wild 

reindeer, 1 73 

from East Siberia, 23-24, 37, 

leaf-shaped, 32-33, 48, 92 
Mesolithic, 22, 37, 38-40 
metal, 1 1 4, 1 1 5, 1 25, 1 54, 1 57 
multi-spurred, 37, 101-102 
Neolithic, 62, 68 

tanged, 24, 68, 85 
trihedral, 85, 91, 92, 98 
arsenic, 182, 183 

art. See figurines; rock art; imagery: 

Arutiunov, Sergei A., 2, 69-70 
Ary-Mas locality, 5, 8, 16 
asbestos temper, 103 
Askola culture, 20, 21 
Astronomicheskaia Bay site, 1 07 
Atlantic Period, 1 5, 15, 23 
Avgustovskaya I (site), 98, 143, 144 

Baikal. See Lake Baikal region; 

Trans-Baikal region 
Baikit I (site), 75, 77, 78, 1 50 
Baikit II (site), 77 

Baikit-type ceramics, 75-76, 77, 78, 
127, 196 

pottery with similarities to, 

at Ust-Polovinka, 106, 112 
Barsoff Gorodok cemetery, 162-163 
Barsova Gora (sites), 1 27, 1 84 
beads, 107, // 5, 1 17 
bear hunting, 1 73 
beaver dams: dating of, 1 5 
Belkachi I (site), 37-38, 40, 43, 69 

ceramics from, 1 48 

Ust-Mil component of, 146 
Belkachi culture, 54-55, 56-57, 72, 


and finds by Okladnikov, 3 
Belkachi-type ceramics, 55, 71, 72 
Beloyarsk-type pottery, 127 
Beregovaya (site), 1 26 
Berelekh (site), 11-12 
bifacial tools, 37 
blade industries, 36, 41 , 42 

See also blades 
blades, 1 7, 1 8, 37 

during the Bronze Age, 95 

during the Mesolithic, 21-22, 23, 
24, 35 

during the Neolithic, 47, 48 
as insets, 23, 95 
at Lantoshka II, 30-31 
prismatic, 37 

See also blade industries; blade 
blade technology, 37, 42 

See also blades 
Bludnaya II (site), 36, 56 
Bolshaya Boyarskaya (rock art site), 


Bolshaya Korennaya I (site), 1 27 
Bolshaya Korennaya II (site), 1 26, 

127, 129, 134, 138 
Bolshaya Kyuske (site), 149 
Bolshezemelskaya tundra, 1,21, 

103, 169 
Bolshoi Laryak (site), 163 
Boreal period, 1 5 
bow and arrows, 1 73, 1 74 
Boyarka I (site), 55, 72, 1 39, 

ceramics from, 144-145, 146 
Boyarka II (site), 141-143 

ceramics from, 1 45, 1 46, 1 49, 1 50 
bracelets, 69 

bronze: buttons, 1 53, 1 56 

drops, 85, 1 14, 122, 180, 182 

ingot, 125, 1 83 

and iron composite tools, 1 24 

plates, 1 53, 1 56 

See also bronze casting; 
Bronze Age, 1 78-1 79 

ceramics, 147, 148, 149 

See a/so Abylaakh I; Ust-Mil 
culture; Ymiyakhtakh culture 
bronze casting, 7, 1 9, 85 

at Abylaakh I, 85, 87-90, 96 

origins of, 1 81 , 1 96 

in Taymyr, 84, 96, 125, 179, 197 

at Ust-Cherninsk sites, 1 39 

at Ust-Polovinka, 89, 129, 131, 
180, 182-183, 184-185 

See also bronze; crucibles; 
buckles, 1 63 

Buolkalaakh (site), 23, 43, 84 
burins, 37 

Burulgino (site), 24, 102, 104 
buttons, 1 53, 156, 163 
Byrranga Mountains, 4, 5 


caribou. See reindeer and caribou 
Carpelan, Christian, 104 
casting, 88, 90, 124, 125 

See also bronze casting; 
cattle breeding, 188, 189 
Caucasus: as source of iron, 

cauldrons, 1 53, 1 89 

imitations of, 151 
celts: bronze, 88-90, 1 84 

as ritual objects, 1 84 
ceramics, 71-72, 75-79 

abandonment of, 152, 197 

and definition of Neolithic, 1 8, 
19, 52 

fired in reducing environment, 60 
and herding, 1 69 
hybrid types, 1 06 
and identification of cultures, 164 
origins of, 53, 72 
See also specific types of 
chalcedony, 74 

Chebedal-type ceramics, 148, 150, 

check-stamped ceramics. See 

Ymiyakhtakh culture 
Chernaya I (site), 1 38, 1 39 
Chernaya II (site), 138, 139 
Chernaya III (site), 1 38, 1 39 
Chernetsov, Valerii N., 1 , 71 , 76, 1 88 
on Orontur ceramics, 1 62, 
163, 165, 156 
Chernov, Georgii A., 1 , 1 03 
Childe, V. Gordon, 19 
c/ioom (structure), 175, 177-178, 


choppers: Palaeolithic, 13, 13-14 
Chuchur-Muran site, 84, 108 
Chukchi Peninsula. SeeChukotka 
Chukotka (Chukchi Peninsula) 
ceramics from, 102, 108 
during the Mesolithic, 24 
during the Palaeolithic, 12 
early archaeological work on, 1 , 2 
circumpolar culture, 1,6, 17, 1 99 
climate, 190 

deterioration, 81-84, 1 04 
during the Early Holocene, 

1 5-15, 195 
during the Palaeolithic, 11-12 
during the Pleistocene-Holocene 

transition, 42 
of Eastern Siberia, 23 
of Taymyr, 5, 54 
Climatic Optimum, 1 5, 16, 81, 195 
colonization: of Taymyr, 15, 16-17 
comb ceramics, 149-150, 152 
composite tools, 37, 48, 1 24 

See also insets 
copper: deposits, 182-183 
drops of, 1 03 
metallurgy, 1 08 
rivets, 1 54 

words for, 1 08, 1 97 
cores: Gobi-type, 40 
crucibles, 127, 184 

from Ust-Polovinka, 114, 115, 
131, 180, 184 

Pyasina-type, 1 05 

used in bronze casting, 85, 
87-88, 89, 97, 103, 181 
culture: as a system, 1 71 
curation: of tools, 1 53 

Daurian culture, 40, 71 
Debets, C.F., 40, 107 
Dikov, Nikolai N., 2, 70-71 

work in Chukotka, 91 , 1 02, 1 08 

See also Ushki sites 
division of labor, 1 79 
dogs, 189, 190 
Dolgan (ethnic group), 5, 1 74 
Dolgikh, Boris O., 177, 192 

ethnohistoric work of, 4 

and the study of origins, 1 , 5 
Dudypta VI (site), 98 
Dudypta XII (site), 1 52 
Dushkachan (site), 1 06, 1 08, 1 50 
Dyuktai Cave, 1 48 
Dyuktai culture, 11,41 

(Sangar-type) ceramics, 148, 149, 

1 50 

Dyuna II (site), 53 

Dyuna III (site), 7, 83, 1 69, 1 86-1 87 
ceramics from, 1 59-1 50, 

152-153, 153 
description of, 1 55-1 59, 1 59, 1 61 

Dyuna V (site), 126 

Dyupkun Lake site, 74, 1 73 

Early Metal Period, 1 1 

East Siberia: influence of, 1 38-1 39, 

141 , 146 
Ekven cemetery, 69 
Elovo culture and ceramics, 1 58-1 69, 


endscrapers: absence of, 35 

Bronze Age, 93, 94, 95 

Mesolithic, 27 

Neolithic, 62 
Enets (ethnic group), 5, 153, 1 87 

ancestors of, 159, 1 85, 1 88, 
191, 198 

folklore of, 1 74-175, 184, 189 
Epi-Palaeolithic: use of term, 1 7-1 8 
Ermolova, Nina M., 17, 1 87 
Eskimo-Aleut traditions, 70 
Eskimo ceramics, 107-108 
ethnic groups, 5 

See also specific ethnic groups 
Even (ethnic group), 1 52 
Evenk (ethnic group), 1 52 
Evenkia: ceramics from, 1 50, 151 

during the Neolithic, 52-53 

family structure. See social 

Fedoseeva, Svetlana A., 2, 108, 181 
on ceramics, 146-148, 149, 151 
work on Iron Age sites, 1 1 1 

Fennoscandia: ceramics from, 104 
See also Finland; Norway 

figurines: cast, 87, 89, 90-91, 185 

Finland, 20, 21, 103 

Finno-Ugric-Samoyedic languages, 109 

fish: remains of, 85, 143, 156, 172 
representations of, 139, 144, 

fishhooks: Mesolithic, 39-40 

fishing: during the Bronze Age, 1 72 
during the Iron Age, 1 52, 1 80, 1 81 
early Holocene, 39, 42 

folklore, 1 52, 1 74-1 75, 1 77, 191 

forest development: during the Early 
Bronze Age, 82-83 
during the Mesolithic, 15-16, 1 95 
during the Palaeolithic, 11,14 

Fosna culture, 20, 2 1 

Cjessing, Gutorm, 3, 103 
glass beads, 1 07 

Clazkovo culture, 69, 84, 85,117 
Clazkovo-type ceramics, 77 
Clubokoe I (site), 49-51, 53, 174 

iron knife from, 73, 1 53 
Glubokozerskaya culture, 53 
golomo (semi-subterranean 

structure), 59, 175-175, 177 
Corely Les (site), 78, 1 50 
Gracheva, Galina N., 4, 1 85, 1 87, 1 91 
Gromatukhino culture, 78 
groundstone: absence of, 95 
Gurina, Nina N., 1, 2, 21, 103 
Gurvich, ll'ia S., 1, 4, 177 

hair: as temper, 1 37, 1 39 
hunter-gatherers, 192 
hunting, 42, 172, 173-174 
communal, 1 78-1 79 

imagery: zoomorphic, 139, 144, 185 
Indigirka River Basin, 1 49, 1 83 
insets: microblade, 41 

used for composite tools, 25, 3 1 , 
61, 92 

iron: sources of, 1 24-1 25 

use with bronze, 1 24 

words for, 109, 197 

See also metallurgy; tools 
Iron Age, 111, 180-181 

ceramics, 148-149 

Early, 98, 149 

of Yakutia, 148, 1 50 

See also Dyuna III; 

Malokorenninsk culture; 
Pyasina culture; Ust-Cherninsk 
Isakovo culture, 47, 52, 71 
Istok Glubokiy (site), 98 
Istok Pyasiny (site), 1 26 
Iterkhei (site), 40 
Ivanovskaya (site), 98, 1 78-1 79 



Japan, 53 
Jomon culture, 53 

Kalkey (site), 70 

Kamchatka, 71 

Kanivets, V.I., 2, 103, 169 

Kapchagai (site), 1 48 

Kapchug Lake, 44 

Kapkannaya II (site), 33-34, 1 26 

Karasuk tradition, 117, 162 

Karginsk period, 1 2 

Karginsky Cape, 54, 81 

Karginsky peat bog, 1 5, 1 6, 27, 81 

Kazachka (site), 39, 77, 149-150 

Kelteminar culture, 76 

Ket (ethnic group), 109, 197 

Khanty (ethnic group), 163, 164, 

168, 169 
Kharaelakh Plateau, 1 82 
Khargy III (site), 70, 98-100 
Khariton Laptev Expedition, 8 
Khatanga II (site), 54-55 
Khatanga River: sites on or near, 2, 

3, 5, 173 

survey of, 8 
Kheta I (site), 143, 144 
Kheta River, 57, 1 37, 1 73 
Kheta River Basin, 5, 7 
Khinskie burials, 40 
Kholodnaya II (site), 98, 1 78 
Kholodnaya III (site), 97-98 
Kholodnaya V (site), 35 
Kholodnaya sites, 96-97 
Khorbusuonka I (site), 37, 52, 56 
kinship, 1 79 

See also social organization 
Kitoy culture, 52, 69, 76 
knapping, 62, 65, 
knives: metal, 114, 115, 124-125, 

131, 133, 136, 

iron, 1 53 
Kokorevo culture, 41 
Kokorevo interstadial, 1 1 , 1 2, 1 4, 1 95 
Kola Peninsula: ceramics from, 1 02, 


during the Mesolithic, 1 9, 20, 21 

archaeological work on, 1 , 2 
Komsa culture, 19-20, 21 
Konda River Basin: ceramics from, 

Konstantinov, I.V., 2, 

on ceramics of, 146, 148, 149, 1 51 
Korchagi l-B (site), 22-23, 38 
Korshak ceramics, 103 
Koryak (ethnic group), 1 07, 1 08, 1 54 
Koshkinskaya culture, 76 
Kotuy River Basin, 5 
Kozlov Mys I (site), 76 
Krasny Yar (site), 41 
Krupnik, Igor, 1 87 
Kullaty (site), 54, 71, 72, 88, 148 
Kuria sites, 40, 41 , 42 
Kurung (site), 1 49 
Kylkai (site), 98, 178-179 

Labaz V (site), 36 
Labaz VI (site), 36 
Labaz IX (site), 36 

labrets, 61, 62, 63, 68, 69, 70-71 , 1 96 

circular, 63, 99-100 
Lake Baikal region, 38, 1 50, 1 51 , 1 96 

ceramics of, 149, 1 50-1 51 

prehistory of, 40 

See also Isakovo culture 
Lake Dyupkun site, 74, 1 73 
Lake Glubokoye, 49 
Lake Tatyanino site, 106, 149 
Lake Taymyr, 5, 8 
Lantoshka I (site), 1 38, 1 39 
Lantoshka II (site), 30-31 , 40, 1 74 
larch: at Dyuna III, 1 55-1 58, 160, 161 
lead, 183 

legends. See folklore 
Lena River Basin, 148, 151, 181 
Levkovskaia, Galina M., 81 , 82 
linguistics: historical, 108-109 
lithic assemblages, 52 
lithics. See specific tool types 
Little Ice Age (LIA), 83-84 
Ludarskaya sites, 40 
Lyungfada (site), 1 52 

Maimeche I (site), 57-62, 58, 59, 69 

structure at, 1 75-1 76 
Maimeche II (site), 144, 145 
Maimeche IV (site), 57, 63, 64-66, 

68-69, 176-177 
Maimeche culture, 72-73, 196 
Makovskoye village site, 1 37 
Malaya Korennaya I, 73, 1 1 7, 1 26 

Malokorenninsk component of, 
1 29, 133, 1 34 

use of bronze at, 1 82-1 83 
Malaya Korennaya II, 35, 127 
Malaya Korennaya III, 35, 73, 126, 127 

arrowhead from, 1 37 
Malaya Munku (site), 54 
Malget-type ceramics, 168 
Malokorenninsk culture, 1 1 2-1 1 3, 

126, 134, 137 

assimilation of, 1 54 

dating of, 129, 1 37 
Malokorenninsk-type ceramics, 

126-127, 133-134, 137, 139 
Malozemelskaya tundra, 159 
Malta (site), 41 

Malta-Afontovo cultural group, 41 
mammoth "cemetery," 12 
mammoths, 11, 12, 14 
Mansi (ethnic group), 163, 168 
Markarian, Eduard S., 171 
masks, 1 86 

Mayat (legendary ethnic group), 1 77 
medieval period. See Barsoff 

Gorodok cemetery; Dyuna III 

(site); Vozhpay (site) 
Medvedev, G.I., 1 3, 39 
Mesolithic, 21-23, 195 

and Early Neolithic, 35 

in East Siberia, 23-24, 39-43 

in Fennoscandia, 19-21 

in Middle Siberia, 39 

in Taymyr, 23, 27, 37-38, 1 74 

in West Siberia, 22-23, 38-39 

use of term, 17-18 
metallurgy, 109, 182-185, 197 

and ritual, 1 85 

at Ust-Polovinka, 1 24, 125, 

See also bronze; bronze casting; 
Mezin (site), 96 
microblade industry, 42 
microblades: Afontovo, 41 

Mesolithic, 26, 27, 28-29 
Middendorf, Alexander F., 1 52 
Middle Siberian Plateau, 4 
miniature pots: as toys, 1 60 
Minusinsk depression, 41 , 42 
mobility: during Early Holocene, 42 
Mochanov, lurii A., 2, 1 1 

on Belkachi culture, 72 

on choppers, 1 3 

on definition of Palaeolithic, 1 7, 1 8 
on Sumnagin culture, 24, 41 
on Ymiyakhtakh culture, 84, 1 08, 

moose hunting, 39, 42, 1 73 
Mukhtui (site), 1 48 
myth. See folklore 

needles: tools for sharpening, 62, 91 
Nenets (ethnic group), 5,91,1 87 

ancestors of, 169, 186, 188, 
191, 198 

folklore of, 178, 189, 192 

as reindeer herders, 1 91 -1 92 
Neolithic, 76, 1 74, 195-196 

Daurian, 40 

Developed, 54, 71 , 73-74 
and Mesolithic, 35, 52 
in East Siberia, 23-24 
at Pyasina I, 30 
use of term, 1 8, 1 9 
nephrite, 69, 70 

net-impressed ceramics, 38, 45, 47, 60 

origins of, 52, 53 

types of, 54 
nets, 65, 172 

in production of ceramics, 47, 89 
Nganasan (ethnic group), 5, 1 52, 

1 53, 169, 172-174, 191 

folklore, 174-175, 189, 191 

as metallurgists, 1 85 

origins of, 5, 82, 198 

shamans, 185, 186 

social organization, 1 79 

structures of, 1 75, 1 77 
Nichols, Harvey, 81 , 82 
nickel, 182-183 

Norilsk I (copper deposit), 1 82-1 83 
Norilsk Lakes, 5 

Norilsk stage (Younger Dryas), 12,14 
North Siberian Depression, 4, 5, 
Norway: ceramics from, 102-103 



Novaya VII (site), 56 
Novokuskovo (site), 77 
Novonokolsk sites, 166 
Novorybnoye l-b (site), 53 
Novorybnoye II (site), 53 
Novorybnoye III (site), 1 53 
Novorybnoye VI (site), 56 
Novorybnoye village, 36 

Ob River, Middle (region), 168-169 

Okhotsk Sea coast: sites on, 1 07 

Okladnikov, Aleksei P., 1 7, 76 
excavation of Khatanga II, 54 
influential work of, 1-3, 146 
on Iron Age pottery. 111, 148 
on waffle ceramics, 84, 1 02, 
103, 108 

Olekma River sites, 1 49 

Oleny Ostrov cemeter/, 102, 103, 104 

ornaments, 62, 69-71 , 96 
See also bracelets; labrets; 
pendants; rings 

Orontur-type ceramics, 162, 163, 
164, 165-156, 168 

Oshurkovo (site), 41 , 42 

Paiturma IV (site), 98, 1 78 
Palaeolithic, 11-14, 41-42, 195 

use of term, 17-18 
peat formation, 1 6 
pebble industries, 41 
pebble tools, 40, 125 
Pechora River Basin: early settlement 

in, 1 1, 21-22 
pendants, 69, 71 , 

from Pyasina V, 98, 100 
perforators, 61 , 68, 92 
periglacial zones, 1 1 
permafrost development, 81 , 84 
petrographic analysis: of slate, 43 
pitch, 95, 181 

Podkamennaya Tunguska site, 137, 
1 50 

Pokrovskoe village, 88 
Polar Expedition, 4, 5-6, 7-8 
pollen analysis, 15,16 

of Tagenar VI, 27 

of Ust-Polovinka, 82-83, 83 
Polovinka River, 7 
Popigay River, 2 

Popov, Andrei A., 1 72, 1 77, 185,191 
population growth, 16, 192 
Posolsk (site), 71 

Posolsk-type ceramics, 71 , 72, 77-78 
pottery. See ceramics 
Punuk culture, 70 
Putorana Mountains, 5 
Pyasina I (site), 143-144, 1 74 

description of, 27-30 
Pyasina II (site), 55 
Pyasina III (site), 1 26, 144, 1 74 

description of, 31-32 
Pyasina IV (site), 126, 174 

ceramics from, 55, 127 

description of, 32-33 

Malokorenninsk component of, 
129, 134 

Ust-Cherninsk component of, 
Pyasina IV-A (site), 105-106, 108 
Pyasina V (site), 35, 98, 100, 

Pyasina VI (site), 1 53 
Pyasina VII (site), 51 
Pyasina VIII (site), 51-52, 129, 1 34 
Pyasina IX (site), 144 
Pyasina XI (site), 3 5 
Pyasina XIII (site), 35 
Pyasina XV (site), 35 
Pyasina XVI (site), 126 
Pyasina XVII (site), 126 
Pyasina culture, 127, 129, 134, 137, 


identified at Ust-Polovinka, 1 1 2, 

113, 125, 133 
and metallurgy, 1 83 
and West Siberia, 125, 179, 184, 


See also Pyasina-type ceramics 
Pyasina River Basin, 4-5, 7 

sites (in general), 38, 42, 126, 
137-138, 173, 183 
Pyasina-type ceramics, 106, 120, 

126, 127, 1 37, 1 39 

quartzite, 1 26 

reindeer and caribou, 5 
antler, 96, 1 86 
domestication of, 96, 187 
during the Iron Age, 1 52 
effect of tundra expansion on, 82 
hair as temper, 60, 87, 1 26, 137 
hides, 1 58, 1 78 

hunting of, 172, 173-174, 178, 
181, 189, 193 

mandibles, 156, 1 58, 187 

migration of, 1 73-1 74 

prod (khorei), 1 02 

remains of, 87, 1 1 4, 1 1 9, 1 44, 1 53 
reindeer herding, 181, 187-193 

development of, 179, 185, 190 

at Dyuna III, 1 86-1 87 
Relka cemetery, 1 68 
Relka-type ceramics, 168 
rings (ornaments), 69, 96 
ritual: and metallurgy, 185, 186 

and votive deposits, 1 54 

See also shamans 
rock art, 90, 96, 187, 189 
Rogachev, Aleksandr N., 1 7, 1 8 
Russian Arctic archaeology: early 

history of, 1 -4 
Rychkov, K.M., 1 52-1 53 

Saami (ethnic group), 1 03, 1 89, 1 93 
Sagan-Nuge (site), 40 
Samodians. See Samoyedic speakers 
Samos (site), 36 

Samoyedic languages, 108, 109 

Samoyedic speakers, 5, 1 86-1 87, 

188, 189, 190-191 

early accounts of, 3-4 

and Ugrians, 168-169 

and Vozhpay culture, 190, 198 
Samoyedization, 169 
Samus culture, 77, 169 
Sandibey I (site), 21,22 
Sandibey V (site), 103 
Sandibey VI (site), 103 
Sangar-type ceramics, 148, 149, 150 
Sappyn (site), 43 
Sartan glaciation, 11, 12, 1 4, 41 
Sarychev, Cavriil A. (explorer), 1 
scrapers, 95, 1 53, 1 73 

for hide processing, 1 78 

See also endscrapers 
seasonality, 1 80 
Seim-Turbino celts, 88, 89, 90 
Selkup (Ostyako-Samoyeds) (ethnic 

group), 168, 169 
Sergeev, Dorian A., 2, 69-70 
Serovo culture, 52, 74, 76, 77 
settlement patterns, 173-174, 180 
shamans, 96, 184, 185-186 
Shelag (legendary tribe), 1 -2 
Shigir peat bog, 39, 1 89 
Shikaevsk (site), 1 2 
Shiversk culture, 1 1 7 
Siberdik (site), 1 3 

Siberia. See East Siberia; West Siberia 
sidescrapers, 95 

Siktyakh-type ceramics, 148, 149, 150 

Sims Bay: sites on, 3 

Sireniki (site), 107 

skin processing, 68 

slate: petrographic analysis of, 43 

sledges, 188-189, 190 

"small dwelling" type ceramics, 

social organization, 1 71 -1 72, 

178-180, 192, 198-199 
spears, 1 73 

spore analysis: at Tagenar VI, 27 
Srednyaya Bay site, 107 
stalking: as hunting strategy, 1 74, 
1 75 

stamps: in ceramic production, 78 
Staroye Barkhatovo (site), 1 54 
Stary Siktyakh site, 88, 96, 148, 

181, 183 
steatite, 62, 69 
Strizhovaya Cora (site), 39, 41 
structures: constructed of larch, 

1 55-1 58, 159, 161 

and floor space, 1 77, 1 79 

portable, 175, 192 

semi-subterranean, 59, 174, 175, 

of West Siberian origin, 1 79 
Studenoye (site), 40 
Sub-Boreal, 54, 81-82, 172 
subsistence, 42 

See a/so fishing; hunting; 
reindeer herding 



Sukharikha ores, 182, 183 
Sumnagin I (site), 40, 84, 146 
Sumnagin culture, 24, 38, 40-41, 

42-43, 195 

lithics, 1 3, 14, 41 

as Palaeolithic, 1 7 
Sumnagin-type (Chebedal-type) 

ceramics, 148, 1 50, 197 
Suomusjarvi culture, 20, 21 
Svinin, V.V., 1 50-1 51 
Syalakh culture, 38, 52, 71 
Syupsya (legendary ethnic group), 1 91 

Tagar culture, 117, 1 88 

use of iron, 1 24-1 25, 1 53-154 
Tagenar 11-2 (site), 141 , 1 52 
Tagenar VI (site), 1 6, 38, 43, 83, 1 74 
description of, 24-27, 25 
similarities to Ust-Popigay I, 36 
Tagenar Lake I, 100-101 
Tagenar sites (in general), 42-43 
Tagenar-type ceramics, 141, 146, 149 
taiga, 5 

Tarinskaya culture, 70 
Tavda sites, 1 66 

Taymyr interstadial, 1 1 , 1 2, 1 4, 1 95 
Taymyr Lake, 5, 8 
Taymyr Peninsula, 6, 

as center of metallurgy, 1 83 

description of, 4-5 

history of research on, 2-3 

prehistory of, 1 72-1 75 
Taz River site, 1 53, 1 63 
Three Brothers Cape site, 107 
Timir-Bilir site, 23-24 
tin, 182, 183 

Tobol Basin: ceramics from, 166 

tools: hunting, 1 73 

iron, 114, 115, 124-125, 127 
See fl/so arrowheads; blades; 
endscrapers; knives 

trade and exchange: in metals, 1 80, 
181, 183 

Ust-Polovinka as center of, 1 85 
Trans-Baikal region, 38 

ceramics, 71 

and bronze casting, 1 81 

prehistory of, 40, 42 

as source of ethnic group, 1 50, 
151, 152 
Trans-Ural region, 39 
Troitskoye site, 1 08 
Tsiklodrom cemetery, 69 
Tukh-Emtor I (site), 164, 1 84 
Tukh-Emtor IV (site), 164, 184 
tundra: expansion of, 81-82, 1 72, 

173, 190 

See also climate: forest 
Tungus (ethnic group): ceramics 
associated with, 1 5 1 , 1 97, 1 98 
folklore of, 185 

use of stone tools, 1 53 
Tungus-Manchurian language 

group, 151-152 
Tungus tradition, 1 1 3 
Tura I (site), 24, 52, 70, 74 
Turkic linguistic group, 5 
Tynsk-type ceramics, 166 

Uelen cemetery, 69, 100 
Ugrians: ceramics of, 164, 165 

fishing by, 1 72 

and Samoyedic speakers, 

See also Khanty (ethnic group) 
Ulan-Khada (site), 40, 71 , 77 
Ularovskaia Protoka (site), 102, 106 
Ural region: influences from, 76 
Uril culture, 147, 151 
Ushki sites, 69, 70, 91 
Ust-Belaya (site), 39, 78, 96, 102, 108 
Ustbelskaya-type ceramics, 78 
Ust-Belsky (site), 69 
Ust-Biryusa (site), 41 
Ust-Boyarka (site), 73 
Ust-Chernaya I (site), 138, 139 
Ust-Chernaya II (site), 1 39 
Ust-Cherninsk culture, 1 38-1 39, 1 46 
Ust-Cherninsk-type ceramics, 

138-139, 146 
Ust-Kamo (site), 77 
Ust-Mil (site), 147 

Ust-Mil culture, 1 06, 1 1 1 , 1 47, 1 49, 1 50 

origin of, 151-152 
Ust-Mil-type ceramics, 147, 148, 151 

dating of, 1 1 1 , 149 
Us-Tolt (site), 165 
Ust-Polovinka (site), 1 1 1-1 14, 1 17, 
1 19-123, 126, 143 
bronze casting at, 89, 129, 131, 

180, 182-183, 184-185 
ceramics from, 116, 117, 118, 

119, 120, 127, 131 
dating of, 1 1 2, 1 1 7, 1 1 9, 122, 131 
lithics from, 1 14, 1 16, 1 19-120, 

125, 131 
Malokorenninsk component of, 

1 29, 1 31, 1 33, 1 34 
Neolithic occupation of, 74-75, 

Palaeolithic chopper from, 

12-13, 13, 14 
pollen analysis of, 82-83, 83 
structures at, 113-114, 117, 

118, 119, 120-121 
See also Ust-Polovinka-type 
Ust-Polovinka-type ceramics, 143, 

145, 169, 1 97, 1 98 
Ust-Poluy (site), 1 89 
Ust-Popigay I (site), 36 
Ust-Talovaya (site), 1 02 
Ust-Timpton (site), 40 

Vakarevo culture, 1 50 
Vakh-Vasyugan region: ceramics 

from, 163, 164, 166 
Vasil'ev, V.I., 1 88, 1 89 
Vasil'evskii, Ruslan S., 107, 108 
Verkhneobskayak culture, 76, 77 
Vilyui Valley sites. 111, 1 47-1 48 
Vozhpay (site), 162, 163 
Vozhpay ceramics, 162, 163-166, 


waffle ceramics, 1 96 

and comb designs, 1 08, 1 50 
distribution of, 1 02-1 03, 

origins of, 1 49 

"pseudo-textile" ware, 107, 108 
spread of, 104, 196-197 
See <3/so Ymiyakhtakh culture 
watercraft, 1 81 

waterfowl: hunting of, 102, 174, 180 
wealth: origins of in reindeer 

herding, 1 92 
West Siberia: ceramics from, 1 50, 

166, 168-169, 197 

populations from, 155, 1 96 

structures in, 1 79 
wood: larch at Dyuna III, 1 55-1 58, 

160, 161 
woodworking, 66, 68 

Yakut (ethnic group), 1 52 

Yakutia: and bronze casting, 1 81 
ceramics from, 102, 103, 106, 

146, 148, 149 
during the Iron Age, 1 48 
during the Neolithic, 52-53 
prehistory of, 40-41 , 42, 43 
and the Ust-Mil culture, 1 50 

Yamal Peninsula, 84, 1 91 

Yangelskaya culture, 39 

Yenisey River Basin, 4, 7, 1 4, 41 
ceramics of, 149, 1 50 

Ymiyakhtakh culture, 84-85, 106, 
108, 178, 179, 196-197 
ceramics, 87, 98, 102-104, 127, 

146, 149 
dating of, 96, 98 
influence of, 107, 138, 147 
lithics, 91-93, 94, 95, 97, 98 
as Late Neolithic, 1 81 
origins of, 181-182 
and Ust-Cherninsk culture, 1 39 
See £?/so Abylaakh I (site) 

Yubileinaya site, 24 

Yukagir (ethnic group), 5, 1 09 
ancestors of, 76, 108, 197 
ceramics associated with, 151, 1 97 

Yukagir language, 108-109, 151 

Zayachya (site), 98, 1 78 
Zhdanikha (site), 125 




Contributions to Circumpolar 


Vol. 1 : Gateways: Exploring the Legacy of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, ] 897-1 902. Edited by Igor 
Krupnik and William W. Fitzhugh. Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian 
Institution. Washington, DC. 2001. xvi+335 pp. 

Vol. 2: Honoring Our Elders: A History of Eastern Arctic Anthropology. Edited by William W. Fitzhugh, 
Stephen Loring, and Daniel Odess. Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian 
Institution. Washington, DC. 2002. xvi+319 pp. 

Vol. 3: Akuzilleput Igaqullghet / Our Words Put to Paper: Sourcebook in St. Lawrence Island Yupik Heritage 
and History. Edited by Igor Krupnik, Willis Walunga, and Vera Metcalf. Compiled by Igor Krupnik and Lars 
Krutak. Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, 
DC. 2002. 464 pp. 

Vol. 4: Constructing Cultures Then and Now: Celebrating Franz Boas and the Jesup North Pacific 
Expedition. Edited by Laurel Kendall and Igor Krupnik. Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural 
History, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, DC. 2003. xviii+364 pp. 

Vol. 6: Northern Ethnographic Landscapes: Perspectives from Circumpolar Nations. Edited by Igor Krupnik, 
Rachel Mason, and Tonia Horton. Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian 
Institution. Washington, DC. 2004. xvi+416 pp. 


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